Indonesia’s cultural art is greatly influenced by other cultures, such as the Hindu mythology and culture that is reflected in the Javanese and Balinese dances.

Many of the dances also reflect some Islamic values. Several of these dances originate from the island of Sumatra, such as the Saman Meusukat dance and the Seudati dance from Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam.

Another famous cultural item from Indonesia is the wayang kulit (shadow puppet made from goat skin) that depicts mythological characters and stories. The art of old poetry in the form of quatrain and couplet sayings from various regions such as the Malay quatrain are often cited in special occasions or in cultural performances.

One of Indonesia’s cultural heritage that has been acknowledged as a world heritage is the batik cloth. The prominent batik industry areas are in Yogyakarta, Solo, and also Pekalongan.

Pencak silat is an art of self defense which is uniquely from Indonesia. This martial art is sometimes shown at certain performances accompanied by traditional music of the region.

In the field of music, Indonesia is rich with traditional as well as modern music that extends from the city of Sabang (the western point of Indonesia) to the city of Merauke (the eastern point of Indonesia). Although traditional music including Javanese keroncong is commonly known, modern music is more popular followed by dangdut music. Dangdut is one type of music originating from Indonesia that has also become quite popular throughout the country. This type of music is a blend of Malay and Indian music with elements from traditional music as well. The name of “Dangdut “ is derived from the sounds of “dang” and “dut” (pronounced as “doot”) that come from the dominating resonances of the bongo and the flute. The Dangdut singers usually sing while dancing expressively and gracefully following the beat of the music. There are several varieties of Dangdut music namely Malay Dangdut, Modern Dangdut (using modern instruments) and Coastal Dangdut (influenced by Javanese and Sundanese traditional music). In the 1970s, Dangdut was initially recognized as a type of Malay orchestral music, but in the 1980s, this type of music became more popularly known as Dangdut music.

The people of Indonesia consist of various ethnic groups, religions and faith. The various ethnic groups are for example Batak, Karo, Minangkabau, Malay in Sumatra and so forth. Indonesia acknowledges several religions namely Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism and the Konghucu faith, but the majority of the population are Moslems.

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