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Astana, Kazakhstan • 05 December, 2022 | 09:33
1 min read

UNESCO Puts Kazakh Puppet Dance and Tradition of Anecdotes on Intangible Heritage List

Forty-six nominations were considered by the UN committee

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Sputnik Kazakhstan
Sputnik Kazakhstan

Orteke—a performance with music and dancing puppets—and the traditional anecdotes of Kozhanasyr have been included in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, QazMonitor reports.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan reported on Thursday that the UN’s committee for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage has deemed the two elements of Kazakh culture to be worthy of recognition and preservation by humanity.

According to the information, a total of 46 nominations were considered by the UNESCO Committee during the gathering in Morocco. Twenty were selected to be part of the cultural heritage list.

Orteke is an indigenous Kazakh performing art that combines theater, music, and puppetry. This folk art entails a music performance with a dombyra and a dance performed by a wooden puppet.

Attached to the surface of a traditional drum with a metal rod, a wooden puppet in the shape of a tauteke ibex is connected to the fingers of a musician by one or several strings. As the musician strikes their fingers to play the dombyra, the puppet comes to life, hopping in sync with the music while tapping a rhythmic beat on the drum.

The second tradition is shared with other Turkic nations—Azerbaijan, Turkiye, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

The telling tradition of Kozhanasyr or Khoja Nasreddin refers to the social practices and festivals around the telling of anecdotes attributed to Nasreddin, a philosopher and wiseman recognized for his wisdom and humorous analyses and representations of society and life experiences.

So far, 11 cultural traditions of Kazakhstan are on the UNESCO list, including 4 that relate specifically to Kazakh cultural heritage: "Art of Dombra kuy" (2014), "Kures" (2016), "Traditional Kazakh Assyk" (2017), and "Spring Rites of Kazakh Horse Breeders" (2018).

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