China has drawn a 10-year plan to protect the Art of Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam, which is newly listed among the masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Chinese Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng made the remarks here Monday, after the UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura handed him certificates for the masterpiece.
On Nov. 25, UNESCO announced 43 new entries into the world's intangible cultural heritage, including the Art of the Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam, and the Pastoral Song of Mongolian ethnic group.
The Pastoral Song of Mongolian ethnic group was jointly applied for by China and Mongolia.
According to Sun, the Art of Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam is a representative name of various kinds of Muqam in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where people contrived this musical complex with songs, dances and music. The music of 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 running across the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is not only an artistic creation with a long history, but also a record of communication between east and west in human history.
Sun said that to save the declining Muqam, China will carry out an investigation for the Muqam in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and give financial support to the elder people who can sing Muqam. China will also set up 10 to 20 study centers to train professional researchers on Muqam.
He noted the Chinese government will encourage local artistic troupes in Xinjiang to perform Muqam, and introduce Muqam into the national artistic education system.
A research center, data bank, website, museum on Muqam will be established, and publicity work for common people about Muqam will also be carried out, Sun added.
The list of masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity now counts 90 entries honoring oral expressions and traditions, music and dance, ritual and mythology, knowledge and practices about nature and universe, and traditional crafts.
UNESCO started to list masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 1998 with a view to save the endangered and declining cultural heritage that belongs to all human beings. In 2001, UNESCO listed the first group of 19 masterpieces including China's Kunqu Opera. In 2003, another 28 masterpieces were listed, including the Chinese guqin zither, a plucked instrument with seven strings.
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2005)