A child performs traditional martial art Pencak Silat, which is now included in Unesco's intangible heritage list. The Unesco (Antara Photo/Agus Bebeng)

Pencak Silat Included in Unesco's World Intangible Heritage List


DECEMBER 13, 2019

Jakarta. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or Unesco, included Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat into its global list of intangible heritages on Thursday.

The inclusion was decided during a Unesco committee meeting in Bogota, Colombia.

“Although it is better known as a martial art, Pencak Silat is a long-standing tradition that encompasses numerous aspects: mental and spiritual, self-defense and aesthetics. The moves and styles of Pencak Silat reflect a strong artistic concern and require physical harmony with the accompanying music,” the world body said in a statement.

The Unesco also included Malaysia’s martial art Silat among 15 cultural practices that recently made it to the list.
Pencak Silat has won the honor in part because its “practitioners are taught to maintain their relationship with God, human beings and nature”.


As host of the 2018 Asian Games, Indonesia managed to include Pencak Silat as a medal event and hauled 14 golds and a bronze, helping it finish fourth of the overall standing, the country’s best in history.

“Indonesia is strongly committed to preserving Pencak Silat not just for its martial art aspect but also for its art and culture,” Kama Pradipta, director of international organization at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said in a statement on Friday.

Apart from Pencak Silat, Indonesian intangible heritages in Unesco’s list also include traditional clothing art Batik, Javanese puppet Wayang, Sundanese music instrument Angklung, traditional knife Keris, Aceh traditional dance Tari Saman and Papuan woven bag Noken.