The Chinese government received certificates for two masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity nominated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday.
The two masterpieces are the Art of Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam, and the Pastoral Song of the Mongolian ethnic group.
There are now 90 in the list of masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity that honors oral expressions and traditions, music and dance, rituals and mythology, knowledge and practices related to nature and the universe, and traditional crafts.
Chinese Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng, told reporters at the awards ceremony on Monday that the Pastoral Song of the Mongolian ethnic group was jointly submitted to UNESCO for consideration by China and Mongolia.
It was the first time that China had submitted a joint entry.
According to Sun, the Art of Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam is representative of the various Muqam in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Muqam is a genre of Uyghur music that combines singing, dancing and instrumentation.
Muqam can be found in 19 countries and regions in central Asia, south Asia, west Asia and north Africa, and along the ancient Silk Road that runs across the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
It is not only an artistic creation with a long history, but also a historical record of communication between the East and the West.
Sun explained that China and Mongolia have shared Pastoral Songs ever since the Mongolian ethnic group came to be, and the two countries jointly made an application for the better and long-term protection of the song.
UNESCO started listing masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 1998, with a view to saving, maintaining and protecting endangered and declining cultural heritage.
Other Chinese masterpieces on the list include the Kunqu Opera, and the guqin or zither.
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2005)