Dutar
Photo by ijavan.ir

The Traditional Skills of Crafting and Playing Dutar was registered in the list of Intangible World Heritage of UNSECO.

The traditional skills of crafting and playing the Iranian musical instrument Dutar (Dotar) was registered in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the decision of the UNESCO Committee held in Bogota, Colombia in December 2019. It was the 14th Iranian work registered on the world list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Dutar is a traditional simple long-necked lute that has a dulcet and melodic tone despite its simplicity. The neck which is sometimes decorated with camel bone and precious stones ranges between one to two meters long. Dutar in Persian means two strings; some attribute one string that plays the main melody to female, and another that functions as the accord to male. The majority of Dutar players use their index and thumb fingers for playing.

Kalil Sheikh, Dutar player from Khaf region, Khorasan Razavi, Iran - Persia Advisor Travels

Kalil Sheikh, Dutar player from Khaf region, Khorasan Razavi, Iran
Photo by Meysam Bazekavat

The images of Dutar in ancient inscriptions prove the antiquity of this instrument that is still popular in contemporary Iran. The crafting and playing Dutar are tied with the culture of many ethnic groups in Iran who play this instrument in a wide range of social and cultural occasions and ceremonies along with ethnic, cultural, epic, and historical lyrics strengthening their identity and cultural pride. Traditionally, the knowledge of crafting and playing the Dutar transmits from master to pupil.

Kalil Sheikh, Dutar player from Khaf region, Khorasan Razavi, Iran - Persia Advisor Travels

Kalil Sheikh, Dutar player from Khaf region, Khorasan Razavi, Iran
Photo by Meysam Bazekavat

Playing and crafting the Dutar is popular in Iran, Turkmenistan, and central Asia. In Iran, it is very popular among Kurds of Khorasan and Turkmens. It is the instrument of Bakhshi tribe in Khorasan whose music was registered in the list of intangible heritage of UNESCO in 2010.