The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has officially recognized batik as an Indonesian cultural treasure, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie said on Monday.
“We have received notification from Unesco that batik has now been listed as part of Indonesia’s cultural heritage,” Aburizal said after attending a cabinet meeting chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at Bogor Palace in West Java.
Unesco, according to Aburizal, would make public its decision to recognize batik as a unique hallmark of the country’s heritage during a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Intangible Heritage, held from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates .
To celebrate batik’s recognition, he said, Yudhoyono had appealed to the public at large to wear batik as a sign of respect for the culture. “The president has asked us to preserve our culture.”
The government has conducted field research since 2008 involving batik-producing communities and experts in 19 provinces across the country in preparation for the nomination of batik as a cultural artifact.
“Batik is not only considered part of Indonesia’s cultural heritage, but is also now recognized as a representation of humanity’s culture,” Aburizal said, adding that as a traditional cloth, batik was rich in value as well as cultural inheritance.
Meanwhile, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said that in 2003, Unesco recognized wayang kulit , or shadow puppets, and a traditional dagger as aspects of the country’s cultural heritage, adding that it would continue to seek Unesco recognition of its cultural artifacts.