Thanatkha, a traditional makeup like ingredient used as a sunscreen, may become Myanmar’s intangible cultural heritage, as arrangements are in progress to put it on the list of UNESCO heritage list, said Dr Nu Mra Zan of a body of experts scrutinizing the intangible cultural heritage of Myanmar.
Dr Nu Mra Zan was speaking at a workshop on nominating Thanatkha as a candidate for world heritage list held at the National Museum in Nay Pyi Taw.
Myanmar has been using Thanatkha since yore, but some neighbouring countries are producing Thanat-kha-based cosmetics and other goods, which is a threat to Myanmar’s traditional brand. As some developing countries are applying technology in manufacturing new types of Thanatkha-based goods, Myanmar may lost its Thanatkha brand if they officially make a registration of their imitations.So, there is the danger of losing Myanmar’s traditional brand, if the country cannot put Thanatkha on the list of UNESCO heritage first. Hence, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture and the body are making efforts to nominate Thanatkha as the candidate for the intangible cultural heritage of the world, according to the workshop.
Experts will choose an appro-priate title for the candidate as they will not nominate it under the name –Thanatkha.
Generally, cultural heritage can be divided into two categories -- intangible cultural heritage and tangible cultural heritage. Tangible Cultural Heritage refers to physical artefacts produced, maintained and transmitted intergenerationally in a society. It includes artistic creations, built heritage such as buildings and monuments, and other physical or tangible products of human creativity that are invested with cultural significance in a society. ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ indicates the practices, representations, expres-sions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, 2003). Examples of intangible heritage are oral traditions, performing arts, local knowledge, and traditional skills, according to a website.
“Myanmar people have less knowledge of both the intangible cultural heritage and tangible cultural heritage. The ancient Pyu cities and Bagan pagoda are included in the tangible cultural heritage. The UNESCO separated intangible culture into five groups–oral traditions, festival events, social practices, rituals, performing arts, knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts, and know-ledge and practices concerning nature and universe,” Dr Nu Mra Zan explained.
The research on cultures, traditions and customs of the country is based on the five different groups of intangible culture. The government has formed necessary bodies to put Thanatkha on the list of UNESCO Heritage List and the subcommittees to protect, preserve and promote intangible culture, according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.
Lin Kyi Lin