Unesco lists ‘khon’ as cultural heritage

Unesco lists ‘khon’ as cultural heritage

Unesco has listed Thai khon as intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat said the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage agreed to officially list Thailand’s khon masked dance drama as intangible cultural heritage on Thursday.

khon is a dance drama genre from Thailand. khon has been performed since the Ayutthaya Kingdom. It is traditionally performed solely in the royal court by men in masks accompanied by narrators and a traditional pipit ensemble. A variation of this genre with female performers is called khon phu ying.
Mr Vira credited the success to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s contribution to preserve and improve the art. “She ordered a remake of costumes and ornaments, as well as makeup, stage, format, light and sound, turning it into a royal khon performance,” he said.
Anucha Teerakanond of Thammasat University said there were three intangible cultural heritage lists. The longer one is the representative list which Thai khon has been added. Another one is the list in need of urgent safeguarding by communities and countries. The other one is the good practice list.

Cambodia‘s Lkhon Khol Wat Svay Andet is on the urgent list while Thai khon is on the representative list,” he explained.
To celebrate, Thailand‘s Cultural Ministry will start holding khon-related activities until the end of next year. They include live performances, animation films, exhibitions, children books, features and digital database. Contributors to the art will also be celebrated.
Thailand started applying for listings of intangible cultural heritage after the country ratified the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on June 10, 2016. For next year, the ministry plans to apply for the listings of nuad Thai (Thai traditional massage) and Nora, a southern traditional dance.

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Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on www.asianitinerary.com

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