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Dubai (AFP) – UNESCO on Tuesday added Arabic calligraphy, a key tradition in the Arab and Islamic worlds, to its list of intangible cultural heritage.
A total of 16 Muslim-majority countries, led by Saudi Arabia, applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which announced the list on Twitter.
“Arabic Calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting Arabic script in a fluid manner to convey harmony, grace and beauty,” UNESCO said on its website.
“The fluidity of Arabic writing offers endless possibilities, even within a single word, as letters can be stretched and transformed in so many ways to create different patterns.”
Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud welcomed the decision and said it “will contribute to the development of this cultural heritage,” in a statement released by the news agency. Saudi official press.
Abdelmajid Mahboub of the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society, who participated in the proposal, said calligraphy “has always served as a symbol in the Arab-Muslim world”.
But he lamented that “many people no longer write by hand due to advances in technology,” adding that the number of specialist Arabic calligraphic artists has dropped sharply.
Registration with UNESCO “will certainly have a positive impact” on the preservation of the tradition, he added.
According to the UNESCO website, intangible cultural heritage “is an important factor for maintaining cultural diversity in the face of increasing globalization”.
Its importance “is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills which are passed down through it from one generation to the next”.
© 2021 AFP