Pencak Silat Recognized as UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Pencak Silat martial art has been identified as the world’s cultural heritage during UNESCO’s 14th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    Permanent representative to UNESCO, Surya Rosa Putra, confirmed the news which was announced during the session held in Bogota, Colombia, on December 9-14, 2019. A total of 42 cultural practices were proposed by participating members to be encrypted as part of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    "Pencak Silat teaches us to be able to establish a good relationship with God, humans, and the environment. Albeit it introduces attacking techniques, most importantly, it teaches us to have self-control and maintain harmony," said Surya.

    The martial art is a typical Indonesian tradition that has been existing for generations. Originated in West Sumatra and West Java, it is then developed throughout the archipelago with unique movement and music that accompanied it in each region.

    It is considered to have all the elements that should be preserved as an intangible cultural heritage. The tradition consists of oral traditions, art performance, rituals and festivals, traditional crafts, social knowledge and practices, as well as local wisdom.

    With the establishment of Pencak Silat, Indonesia currently has 11 UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. The country also has 9 cultural and natural heritage sites, and 15 biosphere reserves, the highest figure among ASEAN countries.

    ANTARA