Archiving Intangible Heritage

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An Archiving Project by the People

The intangible elements of heritage such as memories, traditions and skills often receive the least attention. We draw on our intangible heritage daily and often in very personal ways; the way we live is derived from traditions both consciously and unconsciously passed down. These traditions are fluid and mingle with modern circumstances and influences. This is why memory and tradition can be so easily lost, it naturally evolves and sometimes disappears before we notice. Nevertheless, in a perpetually changing world it is important to find a place for those traditions that carry meaning even after the relevance of their original purposes fades.

It is these crafts and traditions, that are being kept alive by the country’s 6 million plus artisans. However, as craft techniques evolve, so does tradition, and somewhere we lose memory of that, which existed originally.

In an effort to celebrate our past, and those small tokens of yesteryear’s culture, we invite you to be part of the “Archiving Intangible Heritage” project. This project is intended to be an online repository of photographs of traditional objects/crafts/textiles which talk about India’s history and emerging culture.

Our focus in this first phase is to archive products which have been in Indian families pre-1990’s and are representative of:

❦ Oral traditions (a certain music instrument, for example)

❦ Craftsmanship (crafts, apparel, old textiles, different embroideries, rugs, etc)

❦ Customs & social practices (any object used for the same)

❦ Language (old dictionaries, palm leaf manuscripts)

❦ Traditional knowledge (for example: cuisine- objects used for cooking, or preparing a certain delicacy),

❦ Jewellery

❦ Games and Toys

❦ Folk art

❦ and other items associated with traditions of India.

Through this online repository, we hope to give a voice to all those priceless memories and treasures which many families have kept safe – so the children of the new India, can cherish their rich heritage for years to come.

How to Contribute:

Click a picture of the object and email it to us with a short description of :

– the year in which it came to you/your family (approximate will do!)

– the craft (in case you’re not able to identify it, don’t stress!)

– any story you’d like to associate with it (Entirely optional)

Email :

For our first phase, we’re only accepting contributions up to the year 1990.


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