Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 14.COM 10.B.15

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Indonesia has nominated Traditions of Pencak Silat (No. 01391) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

In addition to their sporting element, Traditions of Pencak Silat also encompass mental-spiritual, self-defence and artistic aspects. The moves and styles of Pencak Silat are strongly influenced by various elements of art, involving a unity of body and movement fitting the accompanying music. The term ‘pencak’ is better known in Java, while the term ‘silat’ is better known in West Sumatra, describing a group of martial arts with many similarities. In addition to local terms, each region has its own moves, styles, accompaniments, music, and supporting equipment, which includes costumes, musical instruments, and traditional weapons. Pencak Silat practitioners are taught to maintain their relationship with God, human beings, and nature, and are trained in various techniques to deal with attacks or other dangerous situations based on principles to protect themselves as well as others, avoid harming the offender and build comradeship. The practice strengthens comradeship, maintains social order, and provides entertainment for ritual ceremonies. Related knowledge and skills are commonly taught in non-formal schools and include oral traditions and expressions such as greetings, philosophical phrases, rhymed poems, advice, as well as songs and techniques to play the instruments.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   Traditions of Pencak Silat promote friendship and respect among people. Adapted to each regional context of Indonesia, the element is an important symbol of Indonesian identity and unity, which fosters community integration and consolidates social cohesion and harmony within communities.

R.2:   The inscription of Traditions of Pencak Silat would promote traditional games as a form of intangible cultural heritage, creating potential new synergies between different sports worldwide. The inscription of the element could encourage dialogue focusing on the specifics of each school and strengthen practitioners’ personal identities, especially in terms of the variety of the oral traditions and expressions, moves and styles, accompaniments and costumes.

R.3:   As an established traditional sport benefitting from large festivals and schools, the viability of Pencak Silat appears to be guaranteed. The proposed measures focus on research activities, publications, support for existing festivals and the inclusion of the element as an example of cultural heritage in school curricula. Three of these measures were proposed by the local communities during the workshops and meetings organized as part of this process. These measures will be funded by the State Party during the 2017–2022 term.

R.4:   The file was prepared with the active participation and consent of relevant Pencak Silat stakeholders, practitioners and local communities, including Pencak Silat schools. They were involved in the nomination process in various stages, including data collection, attendance of workshops and meetings and the writing of the draft nomination, among others.

R.5:   The Traditions of Pencak Silat was included in the Records of Indonesian Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014 and recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Indonesia in 2018. The Records of Indonesian Intangible Cultural Heritage is maintained by the Cultural Values Conservation Centre, while the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Indonesia is maintained by the Directorate of Heritage and Cultural Diplomacy. Both of these offices come under the Ministry of Education and Culture.

  1. Decides to inscribe Traditions of Pencak Silat on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Encourages the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to avoid standardized consent letters;
  3. Reminds the State Party that updating is an important part of the inventorying process and invites it to include information in its next periodic report on the implementation of the Convention at the national level on the periodicity of updating of the Records of Indonesian Intangible Cultural Heritage, in accordance with Article 12.1 of the Convention.