1. bookVolume 69 (2021): Issue 4 (December 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2019
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

From Unicorns to Lipizzan Horses. Romanian Folklore Studies on the Way to the Implementation of the UNESCO 2003 Convention

Published Online: 24 Jan 2022
Page range: 487 - 500
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2019
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

As a country officially engaged in the intangible cultural heritage (hereafter ICH) inventorying and other safeguarding mechanisms of the UNESCO 2003 Convention, Romania provides an example of how folklorists strive to transcend the traditional rules of their discipline and to adapt their methodology and overview to supporting the implementation of the Convention. Starting from the recent Romanian contribution to the multinational file for inscribing the “Lipizzan horse breeding traditions” on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, this paper highlights the counterbalancing influences encountered during this process. Given the distance between this ICH element and the topoi that stand in the mainstream of Romanian folklore studies, the author will provide arguments for considering horse husbandry as a worthy example of living heritage in Romania, ensuring visibility to this tradition in a context dominated by the definition of folklore as an artistic or expressive phenomenon that is being (re)presented as ICH and less by folklife and aesthetic social and cultural manifestations. Using other examples of Romanian living heritage less visible at the level of scholarly and policy initiatives, the author pleads for a middle ground between traditional folklore studies and the theory and current practices of documenting living heritage. The topic may thus contribute to greater efforts to break the old rules of the discipline, turning experts’ eyes from mythological horses to real ones.


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