Iran’s dotar instrument wins world heritage status

December 12, 2019 - 20:44

TEHRAN – Iran’s traditional skills of crafting and playing the dotar won world heritage status on Thursday, joining UNESCO’s culture list as one of the most prominent social and cultural components of the folkloric music of the nation.

UNESCO accepted traditional skills of crafting and playing the dotar on the world body’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Iran’s tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said, CHTN reported. 

The inscription took place during the annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was held in the Colombian capital of Bogota.

Dotar (meaning “two strings” in Persian) is a folkloric plucked musical instrument with a pear-shaped bow crafted with dried wood or mulberry tree, a neck made of apricot or walnut wood, and two strings. Some believe one string is male and functions as the accord, while the other is female, playing the main melody. Performers play the dotar on important social and cultural occasions such as weddings, parties, celebrations and ritual ceremonies. Bearers and practitioners are mostly farmers, including male crafters and players and female players.

In recent decades, it has also been played in local, regional, national and international festivals. While playing, the players recount epic, historical, lyric, moral and gnostic narrations that are central to their ethnic history, pride and identity. 

According to the UN cultural body, traditional knowledge relating to crafting and playing the dotar is passed on informally through the master-student method, and the element is also present in local oral and written literature, which reflects the history and background of the bearers. The element fosters peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and understanding both among different communities and with neighboring countries.


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