Updated at 2022-04-25
The renowned Chinese art form shadow play can be enjoyed in Java. However, the shadow play there has been deeply influenced by Islamic culture. Shadow play theater is called “wayang,” which is the Javanese word for “shadow.” Wayang kulit is a style of wayang shadow play where patterns are hand-carved on cowhide or sheepskin to use as puppets. The puppets are combined with complex musical styles to narrate age-old stories. This piece of silverware is the gunungan (Javanese for “mountain”), an important figure in wayang. It plays the leading role at the beginning and end of the performance, symbolizing the beginning and end of everything. The image also shows important totems on the gunungan, which include the god of time, the tiger, the ox, and the earth dragon. Wayang puppet theater has been popular in Java and Bali for 1,000 years, and is inscribed on UNESCO’s Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Flag: the Indonesian flag is bicolor, with red on top and white on the bottom. The red represents freedom and courage, while the white symbolizes justice and purity. The national emblem of Indonesia is a golden garuda. It has a heraldic shield on its chest. The five emblems on the shield are the star; the chain; the banteng head; the banyan tree; and rice and cotton. They correspond to the five principles of the national, foundational ideology of “Pancasila,” which are belief in the almighty god; just and civilized humanity; the unity of Indonesia; democracy; and social justice. These five principles are the highest guiding principles for government administration, and are also followed by the Indonesian people and all political parties.
National day: Aug. 17
Languages: there are over 700 regional languages. The official language is Indonesian. The majority of intellectuals are fluent in English, while the majority of the ethnic Chinese population are fluent in Mandarin, Southern Min, or Hakka.
Area: 1,904,569 square kilometers. Indonesia is the world’s largest island country and consists of 17,508 large and small islands. Of this number, around 6,000 are inhabited. It is the 13th largest country in the world by area, and has eight million square kilometers of territorial waters.
Population: 273 million (2020). Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country. Java is home to 58 percent of the population.
Currency: Indonesian rupiah (Rp)
Government: presidential system/democratic republic