Pinisi, art of boatbuilding in South Sulawesi


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Inscribed in 2017 (12.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© 2015 by Directorate of Internalization of Value and Culture Diplomacy, Indonesia

Pinisi, or the Art of Boatbuilding in South Sulawesi, refers to the rig and sail of the famed ‘Sulawesi schooner’. The construction and deployment of such vessels stand in the millennia-long tradition of Austronesian boatbuilding and navigation that has brought forth a broad variety of sophisticated watercrafts. For both the Indonesian and the international public, Pinisi has become the epitome of the Archipelago’s indigenous sailing craft. Today, the centres of boatbuilding are located at Tana Beru, Bira and Batu Licin, where about 70 per cent of the population make a living through work related to boatbuilding and navigation. Shipbuilding and sailing are not only the communities’ economic mainstay, however, but also the central focus of daily life and identity. The reciprocal cooperation between the communities of shipwrights and their relations with their customers strengthen mutual understanding between the parties involved. Knowledge and skills related to the element are passed down from generation to generation within the family circle, as well as to individuals outside of the family through the division of labour. The communities, groups and individuals concerned are actively involved in safeguarding efforts, for example through marketing initiatives and the publication of books on the subject.