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Master cowbell makers [Alentejo, Portugal]

The statements of Portuguese Master Cowbell Makers is a document that «(...) includes the declarations by all Portuguese cowbell makers who hold a declaration of intangible cultural heritage for the Manufacture of Cowbells. The 13 declarations of authorisation and support are the voices of a group of men united by ancient knowledge: making and tuning cowbells. These are the last Portuguese representatives of an art which combines the knowledge of blacksmiths and coppersmiths with music. These masters of sound use their knowledge to create soundscapes. Their knowledge is in real danger of disappearing. Many of these men are in their 70s or 80s, and the transmission of their knowledge is in real danger. Cowbell makers manufacture a type of cowbell that is typically found throughout the Iberian Peninsula and in the Atlantic Pyrenees. This cowbell characteristically has two folds rising from the top that form a loop, contrary to other cowbells that merely have a handle attached. This typological unit owes its features to ancient transhumance routes. The cowbell is also in danger of extinction in Spain, where production knowledge is also in danger of not being renewed. In France, we located only one cowbell maker who makes this type of cowbell.(...)

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Filme "Manufacture of cowbells" (Portugal), © David Mira, 2014,Urgent Safeguarding List - 2015, UNESCO

Photos:UNESCO website, © Augusto Brázio, 2014