Indonesia is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands that occupies an area approximately the same size as the United States. Straddling the equator, Indonesia sustains the greatest level of biodiversity on the planet, after the Amazon Rainforest.

Geographically situated in Southeast Asia, with an abundance of important natural resources such as spices and tropical hardwoods, Indonesia has a long, rich history of trade, commerce, and interaction with the cultures of India, China, the Middle East, mainland Southeast Asia, and Europe. Influence from these regions can be seen in its religions, languages and literature, architecture, visual and performance arts, politics, history, and cuisine. This is the fourth most populated country in the world and, with over 300 distinct ethnic groups, there is extraordinary cultural diversity. Indonesia is home to the world’s largest population of Muslim people and proclaims “Unity in Diversity,” a national motto.

Java is an island in Indonesia with one of the highest population densities in the world. Historically, Java has been Indonesia’s center of power and, culturally, Central Java is still regarded as the heart of artistic traditions. One of Indonesia’s best known art forms is wayang kulit and it thrives in Central Java.