The activities to compose the list of publications to be described in the data entry sheets has been carried out by Aigine CRC and national partners from early March 2022 to November 2022.
Aidai Kalmamatova entered 10 publications to the data entry sheets. Altynai Kudaibergenova contributed 11 papers to the data entry sheets. Kiyal Tajieva described 15 research works to the data entry sheets. Elmira Kochomkulova contributed 7 materials to the data entry sheets. Katycha Aitikeeva entered 7 publications to the data entry sheets. Aisha Sabyrbekova contributed 7 papers to the data entry sheets. Meerim Aitikeeva described 8 materials to the data entry sheets. Doolot Rysbaev contributed 5 works to the data entry sheets.
The data entry sheets includes 70 publications – 38 sources published in Kyrgyz, 18 in Russian, 6 papers were published simultaneously in Kyrgyz and Russian, 1 – in Kyrgyz and English, 2 in Russian and English, 3 in English, 2 in Kyrgyz, English and Russian.
Analysis of the data collected
Of the 70 publications, 8 sources relate to studies of traditional crafts, including studies of shyrdak, tushkiyiz, traditional clothing, traditional female headdresses, and traditional applied arts. One of our national collaborators Altynai Kudaibergenova notes that these field researchers consider and study elements of ICH through the prism of women’s activities and women’s role in the production of elements.
11 publications touch the epic trilogy “Manas, Semetei,Seitek”. Kiyal Tazhieva notes that most of these papers focus on the finding various concepts related to the political and state structure of peoples.
Also these studies pay much attention to the search in the plot and text of the epic for the concepts on the education of the younger generation. In several studies Manas is examined through the prism of Kyrgyz traditional oratory and performing art.
10 publications explore the study of traditional Kyrgyz music. Two of these works are studies of modern problems in the system of traditional musical education.
Aidai Kalmamatova has noted that most studies on traditional Kyrgyz music and performing arts were made on the basis of the European musical school. These studies do not take into account the specifics of Kyrgyz traditional music and the specifics of traditional systems of teaching traditional musical instruments (ustat-shakirt).
20 works from the data entry sheets research the worldviews of the Kyrgyz people. Researchers in this field make attempts to consider and study the symbolism of various elements of ICH (e.g. Orkhon-Yenisei runic inscriptions, Kyrgyz mythology).
7 books are dedicated to study of traditional ecological knowledge, including traditional animal husbandry and botany. 1 work concerns the field of traditional medicine.
7 sources cover the study and description of traditional types of games and sports competitions. One of these books attempts to describe and restore some types of traditional sport games from the texts of the epic trilogy “Manas,Semetei,Seitek”.
3 books touch the study of Kyrgyz traditional genealogy – sanjyra. Kiyal Tazhieva has noted that a lot of sanjyra, Kyrgyz traditional genealogy have been created in last 30 years, but there is a lack of academic research on this domain of ICH.
3 publications examine the study of Kyrgyz and regional traditional rituals and social practices (wedding, funeral, etc.).
Research focus and academic fields
The focus of the publications entered into the data entry sheets was on documentation, transmission, promotion of elements of intangible cultural heritage, as well as education in the field of cultural heritage. The publications included in the data entry sheets relate to social anthropology, ethnomusicology, folklore, ethnology and to Cultural studies as academic fields.
Research trends in Kyrgyzstan. Challenges and findings.
In the list of 70 publications introduced in the data entry sheets one can find diverse ICH elements.
Some ICH related genres, such as the epic trilogy “Manas,Semetei,Seitek” or Kyrgyz worldviews, take more attention and interest of researchers than, for example, traditional medicine or traditional games and festive events.
The main issue to include academic papers on cultural heritage into the database is that there are no studies that have a direct relationship to the text, spirit and language of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
An academic direction, which would be based on the ideas of the 2003 Convention, has not been developed yet.
Most academic papers (dissertations, etc.) explore important elements of the Kyrgyz intangible heritage, such as the epic heritage, spiritual practices, traditional music or craftsmanship, but they do not touch or reflex upon content of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
What kind of research areas and topics should be more focused on in the future?
Analyzing the collected material, the national partners came to the conclusion that a large number of research materials in the field of traditional fine and applied arts are descriptive. Researchers in this field need to bring more of the analytical dimension to their future work.
In the field of studying traditional music and traditional musical instruments, researchers need to focus more on the specifics of Kyrgyz traditional music and the specifics of traditional systems of teaching traditional musical instruments (ustat-shakirt).
What kind of information was not gathered?
Among the 70 publications, collected during the second year of the project there are none that analyze the economic aspects of ICH.
All 70 sources focus on the ICH of the Kyrgyz people. There are no researches on to the elements of ICH of ethnic groups living in the country. Aigine CRC, as the coordinating organization, intends to start working with the people who in the future will be able to describe, research the ICH of other peoples of Kyrgyzstan and to supplement the existing database.
Do the results reflect the trend of ICH research in your country?
The results of a two-year project to collect and describe research materials reflected the trends and directions in the research of intangible cultural heritage in Kyrgyzstan.
State structures like the Institute of Language and Culture, the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic and others are actively involved in research in the field of intangible cultural heritage in Kyrgyzstan.
Researchers make regular expeditions to the regions of the Kyrgyz Republic, researching, collecting and recording elements of the Kyrgyz Intangible Cultural Heritage. New research papers on Kyrgyz traditional medicine, music and clothes and other are published.
The analysis of academic materials has shown that at the moment a trend is being formed to analyze the elements of ICH in Kyrgyzstan to develop and form various educational, political concepts and ideological, national principles. Studies of ICH elements are also being conducted to develop teaching and study guides and introduce materials on ICH into the formal and non-formal education system.
There are many studies that are directly related to ICH but these books are not recognized by the academic community as full-fledged studies on ICH and considered “non-scientific”. Indeed, they are not written in the generally accepted academic paradigm. For example, the authors may build their concepts on the basis of information with no exact historical or any other evidence. At the same time, such books contain a lot of important information on ICH: traditions, politics, and everyday culture. We think it will be right in the future to include such «people’s» studies in the database.
How can the collected data contribute to the promotion of ICH safeguarding and associated research activities?
The national workshop on the second year was held on November 10, 2022.
The workshop participants discussed and summed up the results of the collection and descriptions for the database. National collaborators shared their experiences.
All national collaborators upon completion of work on the description of publications noted the importance of creating such an ICH research database and suggested creating a similar base on a national scale. The database will provide a ground for researchers throughout the region to begin work on ICH research.
The collaborators noted that while studying the materials, they had a desire to start filling some gaps in the research studies on ICH and write their own research papers.
How the network among National Collaborators developed in this project can/will be utilized in the future?
In the future, the developed network of national partners can be used as a basis for the creation of a systematic database on ICH and research in this field at the national level.
Aigine CRC’s planning to create an online digital database on intangible cultural heritage of Kyrgyzstan , where in the future information about research in the elements of ICH, among other things and topics, will be available to every researcher and interested person.