DIFERENCE BETWEEN TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE
Actualizado: 23 nov 2019
The concept of Cultural Heritage and the classification of the different kind of heritage are clearly defined in the principal document of the UNESCO System: World Heritage Convention. In this text, World Heritage is divided in three categories: Cultural Heritage, Natural Heritage and Mixed Heritage (cultural and natural heritage). In its Article 1 of the Convention explains what shall be considered as cultural heritage: monuments, groups of building and sites, all of them with Outstanding Universal Value from a point of view of aesthetic, historical, scientific, ethnologic and anthropological value.
An interesting definition of Outstanding Universal Value was given by the participants in the Global Strategy Natural and Cultural Heritage Expert Meeting, held in Amsterdam in 1998: “The requirement of outstanding universal value should be interpreted as an outstanding response to issues of universal nature common to or addressed by all human cultures. In relation to natural heritage, such issues are seen in bio-geographical diversity. In relation to the culture in human creativity and resulting cultural processes.”
Apart of this Cultural Heritage, it can be classified in two categories: tangible and intangible and these are the most important concepts applicable in areas of interest and in the classification of Cultural Heritage. But, what is the true meaning of tangible and intangible?
Tangible Cultural Heritage is everything that we can touch and we can perceive clearly. This refers to the Cultural Heritage including: buildings, historical places, monuments, handicraft, sculpture, painting, etc. In this group are included objects from archeological sites, architectural structures, tools from technology and science from the different ancient cultures. Tangible Heritage is divided in other two kinds of heritage: movable and immovable. The tangible movable heritage is composed by archeological, historic, ethnographic, religious and artistic objects, for example, artworks, manuscripts and documents, recordings, photographs, audiovisual documents, etc.
On the other hand, Immovable Tangible Heritage is composed by monuments, groups of buildings and sites. They are human works that cannot be moved from one place to another, either because they are structures or because they are inseparable from the land, for example archaeological sites.
The Intangible Cultural Heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.