Cultural heritage listing sought for Myanmar’s Inle Lake

The Myanmar Times reported that the delicate lotus-robe weaving, leg-rowing races and ecology of Inle Lake in Shan State could soon receive global recognition, with officials indicating they plan to nominate it for inclusion on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Daw Nandar Moon, secretary of the Asean Socio-Cultural Community Secretariat Office, told The Myanmar Times that the Ministry of Culture began inventorying the natural and cultural heritage of Inle Lake in late 2014.

The ministry chose to inventory Sha Wa Gyi and Kay Lar villages for their traditional fisheries industries, Kyaut Tai village for pottery, and Nan Pan and Tae Yar Ma villages for silver-smithing and boat-making.

According to Unesco, “intangible cultural heritage” encompasses five categories in need of safeguarding, including oral traditions and expression such as language, folktales, manuscripts and traditional games. The second category is for performing arts such as theatre, vocal arts, music and film, while the third is for the social practice of rituals and festivals.

The fourth is for knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, including traditional knowledge, local genius and traditional medicine; and the fifth is for traditional craftsmanship including painting, sculpture, architecture, dress, clothing, food and drink, as well as traditional modes of transportation.

The intangible cultural heritage inventory is aimed at promoting community-based participation and development.

U Aung Kyaw Swar, principal of the Inle Heritage Hospitality Vocational Training Centre, said that conceptual awareness is key to preserving the cultural heritage of Inle.