Taijiquan is listed as an intangible world cultural heritage by UNESCO


In December 2020, Taijiquan was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List (1). The inclusion is a publicly visible recognition of this living tradition, which we are particularly pleased about at the end of a very difficult year. The German Unesco website (4) states that the attention associated with the listing can be used to maintain the vitality and sustainability of the cultural form and to develop it creatively. It is also emphasized there that the use does not include any commercial activities. The 48 supporters (2) of the application for inclusion on the UNESCO list are communities around Chenjiagou, schools of various styles and individuals. Among them is Chen Peiju, 12th generation of Chen clan Taijiquan and representative of the small frame Xiaojia. They are all committed to a 5-year plan for the protection of intangible cultural assets. We do not yet know exactly what this means and what projects are planned, but we are already very excited.

A few more facts from UNESCO (3): Intangible cultural heritage is clearly distinguished by UNESCO from the so-called world cultural heritage, which is reserved for buildings and natural monuments. "The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage emphasizes the special character of intangible cultural heritage: it is living and linked to people who practice and creatively develop it. Intangible cultural heritage is therefore dynamic and subject to social transformation processes. The decisive factor for the preservation of intangible cultural heritage is that people actively pass on their traditions and values, their knowledge and skills from generation to generation." The UNESCO General Conference adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003. It came into force in spring 2006 after ratification by 30 states. In the meantime, 178 States Parties have acceded to the Convention.


  1. https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/taijiquan-00424#diaporama
  2. https://ich.unesco.org/doc/src/43834.pdf
  3. https://www.unesco.de/kultur-und-natur/immaterielles-kulturerbe/immaterielles-kulturerbe-weltweit/unesco-uebereinkommen
  4. https://www.unesco.de/kultur-und-natur/immaterielles-kulturerbe/immaterielles-kulturerbe-sein

by Sabine Rossbach