Czech blown-glass and beaded Christmas decorations awarded UNESCO status

The traditional method of crafting decorations, native to the North Bohemia region, has been inscribed on the Intangible Heritage list.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 17.12.2020 16:21 (updated on 17.12.2020)

Traditional Czech blown-glass and beaded Christmas decorations manufacturing has been added to the UNESCO list of world intangible cultural heritage.

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage confirmed the news today.

The hand production of blown-glass beads started in Ponikla and its surroundings in northern Bohemia more than a century ago.

"We have been impatiently waiting for the verdict and I am very happy that we are able to keep this old unique production of Christmas decorations alive. I congratulate the bearers of this tradition and all those who participated in the preparation of the nomination documentation for their successful inclusion on the prestigious list created by the international community of experts," said Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek.

At present, the blown beads are only produced by the Rautis glass-making company, a successor to a company established in 1902.

Rautis offers more than 20,000 patterns of glass beaded decorations, including older ones originating in the early 20th century. The most popular pattern is stars.

"We are proud very much that our decorations are on the list. It is a great recognition for all the crafters who take part in the work," Rautis board head Marek Kulhavy told CTK.

Kulhavy said he believes this is excellent news for the entire Krkonoše of which Ponikla is a part.

These Czech Christmas decorations were nominated for UNESCO listing already in 2018 but weren’t accepted by the intergovernmental committee at the time.

The UNESCO committee congratulated the Czech Republic Thursday on its success and appreciated how the country reacted to the objections made to this nomination in 2018 and incorporated them in its revised nomination.

The Czech Republic has seven items on this UNESCO list now.

The other Czech items on the UNESCO list of world intangible cultural heritage are falconry (listed in 2010), the Ride of the Kings (2011), the Slovacko verbunk dance (2005), the Shrovetide processions (2010), which is a Pentecost tradition from the Hlinsko area, puppetry (2016), and the blueprint textile technique (2018).