An ancient art form considered as a key element of the identity of the Saudi region of Asir has been inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Al-Qatt Al-Asiri is a traditionally female interior wall decoration, which promotes solidarity among women. It is handed down through observation.
Women invite female relatives of various age groups to help them in their homes, thereby transmitting this knowledge from generation to generation. The base is usually white gypsum and the patterns consist of icons of geometric shapes and symbols, UNESCO said.
In the past, only women practiced the element, but nowadays male and female artists, designers, interior designers and architects practice it, including on other surfaces.
The decision to put Al-Qatt Al-Asiri on the list was made by the UN cultural body's World Heritage Committee, which is meeting on the South Korean island of Jeju.
Thirty-four candidates are seeking to join the list of intangible heritage, which currently includes 365 traditions, art forms and practices.
Morocco’s Taskiwin, a martial dance specific to the western High Atlas, has also joined the list.
It involves shaking one’s shoulders to the rhythm of tambourines and flutes.
Also on the list, UAE’s Al Azi, a traditional poetry recital performed by a group of individuals without instruments.
The practice strengthens bonds in the community and is connected with knowledge and practices related to nature, UNECO said.