Illustration of pencak silat

The 14th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (IHC) in Bogota, Colombia, which took place December 9-14, designated Pencak Silat as an intangible inheritance by UNESCO. In his statement, the Permanent Indonesian Delegation Representative to UNESCO Surya Rosa Putra delivered promptly at 10:00 local time, pencak silat traditions of Indonesia and Malaysia officially entered the list of UNESCO intangible world cultural heritage. In addition to pencak silat there are also 42 nominations to be encrypted as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

UNESCO Establishes Pencak Silat as a World Intangible Heritage, Thursday (12/12), Bogota, Colombia. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Surya Rosa Putra said that the tradition of pencak silat is not just self-defense but also becomes part of the way of life for the perpetrators. “Pencak silat teaches us to be able to have a good relationship with God, fellow humans, and the environment,” he said.

“Although pencak silat teaches attacking techniques, but most importantly pencak silat teaches us to be able to restrain and maintain harmony.”

Pencak silat as one of the martial arts, is a typical Indonesian tradition that has existed for generations. Pencak silat originated from West Sumatra and West Java and then expanded to all parts of Indonesia with each unique movement and music that accompanied it.

Whereas in Malaysia, pencak silat places more emphasis on aspects of martial arts and sports movements originating from the Malay Peninsula. Including the science of tiger silat.

Also Read: Implementing a Peace Program, this Junior High School in Indonesia Received an Award From UNESCO

The martial arts tradition itself consists of oral traditions, performing arts, rituals and festivals, traditional crafts, social knowledge and practices, and local wisdom.

The establishment of Pencak silat as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO is a joint effort of all parties. The effort consisted of collecting and submitting data, holding various workshops to the preparation and negotiation of nominated documents.

Indonesia is also committed to maintaining the sustainability of pencak silat, including through education of pencak silat which does not only focus on aspects of martial arts. But also as part of the arts and culture curriculum.

The promotion of pencak silat to various countries will also continue to be encouraged. At present there are communities, colleges and martial arts festivals in 52 countries in the world.

According to the results of talks between the Minister of Sports, Ernesto Lucena and the Indonesian Ambassador to Colombia, Priyo Iswanto, Colombia as the host of the IHC session will hold an exhibition forum in February 2020 to introduce pencak silat to the people of Colombia.

With the establishment of pencak silat, Indonesia currently has a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. In total Indonesia has nine cultural and natural heritage sites, and 15 Indonesian biosphere reserves. This amount is the largest among other ASEAN countries.


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