The South Khorasan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (SKCHTHD) has selected dotar maker Zolfaqar Beitaneh as a Living Human Treasure.
The 58-year-old master, who lives in Ferdows, South Khorasan Province, has also skills in crafting a kind of reed flute, which is used in the folk music of Khorasan.
“Zolfaqar Beitaneh is the sole survivor of the Bitaneh family in the Ferdows region, which has been famous for their skills in making and performing dotar for several generations and has had their own style of crafting and performing the indigenous instrument,” the SKCHTHD official Ahamad Barabadi said in a statement published on Tuesday.
Beitaneh learned to play and make the dotar from his father, Ali, who had his own special pattern for making the dotar, a string instrument with a pear-shaped body that is mostly made and performed in the Iranian northeastern region of Khorasan.
The traditional skills of crafting and playing the dotar in Iran were inscribed on the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2019.
“Music is part of a largely oral culture in the Khorsan region, and the oral culture has narrators who are the hidden treasures of the traditional culture of the area,” Barabadi said.
“The first step to preserve the intangible heritage is to search for master craftsmen in various areas and veteran artists,” he added.