The art of the Neapolitan pizza-maker waving dough in the air made an enviable entry Thursday to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage of Humanity alongside other cultural treasures such as the traditional Saudi wall decoration performed by women.
This culinary practice, passed on from generation to generation in southern Italy, has been recognized by the ad hoc committee of Unesco. The meeting was held on the South Korean island of Jeju to consider 34 applications for inscription on the Representative List of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This inscription is symbolic but gives some visibility and the efforts of thuriféraires of the art of the Neapolitan pizza paid.
Two million people had signed a “global petition” to support the inscription, according to Sergio Miccù, president of the Neapolitan pizzaioli association.
No doubt they had been encouraged by the generosity of the person concerned. “We will distribute free pizza in the streets,” Sergio Miccù told AFP earlier.
Beyond a spectacular gestural ability, it is a “culinary know-how” that combines “songs, smiles, technique, show” and dates back to the sixteenth century, underlined the Italian application file.
When the first pizzas appeared in Naples, they were flat breads designed primarily as a quick and cheap way to feed the crowds, according to the historian Antonio Mattozzi. The tradition developed and the first pizzerias appeared at the end of the 18th century. But it took nearly a century for them to try out Naples.
“Victory!” Reacted on Twitter Maurizio Martina, the Italian Minister of Agriculture. “A new step for the protection of the gastronomic and viticultural heritage of Italy”.
– the ‘most consumed product’ –
Alfonso Pecoraro Scano, former Minister of Agriculture in Jeju at the initiative of the petition, added on the social network: “Long live the art of the pizza neapolitan, symbol of the best-selling product and consumed on the planet , the pizza “.
The list created in 2003 already counted 365 entries bringing together traditions, various forms of art or celebrations, such as Spanish flamenco or Indonesian batik, or more obscure traditions like the Mongolian ritual to coax camels or the festival of struggle to Kırkpınar oil, in Turkey.
It is now embellished with Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, a form of traditional spontaneous art of the region practiced in the Saudi region of Asir by the women decorating the walls.
Bangladesh and its shital pati, traditional manufacture of mats woven with bands of rush, is also recognized.
Ditto for kok-boru, traditional equestrian game of Kyrgyzstan, in which two teams of riders try to drop a carcass of goat for the purpose of the opponent. Today, the carcass is rather replaced by a molding, according to UNESCO.
Intangible cultural traditions threatened with extinction have been placed on an emergency safeguard list, which allows states to “mobilize the necessary international cooperation and assistance” to protect them.
The whistled language of Turkey, a mode of communication battered by technological and socio-economic developments, is part of it as well as the Moroccan Taskiwin, a martial dance of the Western High Atlas which consists for its practitioners to vibrate their shoulders to the rhythm tambourines and flutes.
According to UNESCO, this practice is threatened in particular by globalization and the growing denigration by young people of traditional heritage practices.