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UNESCO declares manual glass production as culturally significant


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared manual glass production to be an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

The traditional craft was nominated for inclusion on the UNESCO list by Finland, France, Spain, the Czech Republic and Hungary together with Germany.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Intangible Cultural Heritage met in Kasane, Botswana.

Vice President of the German Commission for UNESCO, Christoph Wulf, said: “Patience, creativity and teamwork characterise manual glass production.

“I am pleased that UNESCO has recognised the impressive creative power of this craft. The community of glassmakers preserves this special craft tradition with impressive commitment. I am convinced that their knowledge and skills will remain with humanity for a long time to come.”

Manual glass production is dedicated to the shaping and design of hot and cold glass.

Glass is melted at temperatures well over 1000°C and can only be shaped for a short time.

To make hollow glass, the craftsmen blow up a small ball of hot, viscous glass using a pipe and bring it into the desired shape by rotating, pivoting and working with traditional tools (see above).

To produce flat glass, the hot raw material is stretched into a roller and further processed.

Handcrafted hollow glass is still needed today for high-quality series production, design, the production of prototypes and special technical applications.

Mouth-blown flat glass is used for restoration work, but also in architecture and art.

The knowledge on manual glass production is preserved and passed on by only a few people in Germany. Glassmakers today have a close international network.

Glassworks from all over Europe took part in the nomination for the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

The intangible cultural heritage includes living traditions in the areas of dance, theatre, music, oral traditions, natural knowledge and craft techniques.

UNESCO has been supporting the protection, documentation and preservation of living culture for 20 years.