I La Galigo is an ancient manuscript from South Sulawesi which is now being considered by UNESCO to be in the list of world cultural heritage in Indonesia. the story in I La Galigo has been adapted to a drama musical, and has been shown world wide.
The UNESCO National Committee on Memory of the World is evaluating the I La Galigo ancient manuscript as a world cultural heritage. “I La Galigo is among the ones proposed,” said Jan Sopaheluwakan, the committee’s chairperson, in Hasanuddin University, Makassar, yesterday.
According to Jan, the seminar is one of the steps to obtain a UNESCO certificate. “I La Galigo was proposed last month. After the seminar, it will be evaluated by the Asia Pacific region commission and then submitted to UNESCO,” said Jan.
The La Galigo manuscript is considered to have fulfilled all the criteria. Besides its unique quality, the manuscript is the longest in the world, besides the Mahabarata epic. In addition, it has a cross-country and cross-period value. “The manuscript is are in danger of extinction. This is why we are optimistic about getting a UNESCO certificate,” said Jan.
The I La Galigo’s greatness is well known. Jan said that various researches and evaluation already done on it would become a strong testimony to facilitate the selection. I La Galigo is an epic about a Bugis community ‘s early life on earth.
According to Jan, the manuscript was proposed together with Babad Diponegoro from Central Jaca and Mak Yong art from Riau. “Usually by January UNESCO will have decided on its selections,” he said.
I La Galigo has been adapted to a music-theater work by Robert Wilson, an american avant-garde stage director who has been called the world’s foremost vanguard theater artist because of his wide ranging career. the music-theater work has been shown since 2004 in Asia, Europe, Australia and the United States. It is based on an adaption by Rhoda Grauer of the epic creation myth Sureq Galigo of the Bugis from South Sulawesi, written between the 13th and 15th century in the Indonesian language Buginese.
the drama focuses on one particular narrative thread, about the warrior Sawerigading, and his twin sister, We Tenriabeng. They are descendants of the gods of the heavens and the gods of the underworld who send their offspring to inhabit the earth. From the time in the womb of their mother, which is put onto stage, they are destined to fall in love with each other.Worried that their incest would doom the world, the Bissu priests order them to be separated at birth. Sawerigading travels abroad but is eventually told about the world’s most beautiful woman. He returns home and actually falls in love with his twin sister. To avoid the worst, We Tenriabeng introduces him to a woman of equal beauty, whom he marries to have a son named I La Galigo. Nevertheless, the earth is cleansed of all life another time and their children mate again to repopulate it and start a new era.
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