Countries around the world have taken active steps to support their master artisans and artistic traditions. Amongst the earliest protections for traditional craftsmanship were those developed by Japan and Korea in the 1950s.
International legislation to recognize and support master artisans was formalized by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which defined the knowledge and skills associated with traditional craftsmanship as one of five elements of ‘intangible cultural heritage’ of global significance.
Traditional craftsmanship is defined as –
“…practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural space associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage…”
154 countries to date have become state parties to the Convention, actively recognising the significance of master artisans within their own countries and on an international stage. The work of organisations such as Saray Design support and contribute to this internationally recognized imperative to safeguard traditional craftsmanship.