Masked dance tradition rises from near extinction in Cambodia

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Dancers perform masked theatre known as Lakhon Khol which was recently listed by UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, as an intangible cultural heritage, along with neighbouring Thailand’s version of the dance, known as Khon at the Wat Svay Andet buddhist temple in Kandal province, Cambodia, December 16, 2018. Picture taken December 16, 2018. Source: REUTERS/Samrang Pring 20190104

via Reuters in the Bangkok Post, 04 Jan 2019: The listing of the Khon dances of Cambodia and Thailand are welcome, but the tradition still is in danger of dying out if new generations do not learn the craft.

Cambodia’s centuries-old tradition of masked dance was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge’s “Killing Fields” regime, but a handful of artists managed to keep it alive and are now working to pass it along to a new generation.

Sun Rithy’s father and grandfather were both performers of the Lakhon Khol masked dance, but the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge — who scorned most art as decadent — banned its study when he was a child in the 1970s.

Now 48, Sun Rithy leads one of the last Lakhon Khol troupes in Cambodia, made up of about 20 performers and students aged six to 15. For him, teaching a new generation is a matter of survival for the tradition.

“I don’t want Lakhon Khol … to go extinct,” Sun Rithy told Reuters.

Lakhon Khol was recently listed by Unesco, the United Nations’ cultural agency, as intangible cultural heritage, along with neighbouring Thailand’s version of the dance, known as khon.

Source: Masked dance tradition rises from near extinction in Cambodia | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

Intangible heritage stands up to scrutiny

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via Bangkok Post, 15 December 2018: A friend from Unesco Bangkok pens this opinion piece about the inscription of the masked Khon dances from Cambodia and Thailand into the Intagible Cultural Heritage list.

That said, what is most interesting in the value of masked dance about Ramayana is not how beautiful they are as art forms, or how they are made prize possessions of countries in the nomination process. Instead, they are most interesting as local traditions that are still viable to many different communities across the region, so all of them practise and pass on the skills and passion to the next generation. These masked dance variations have survived until today, thanks to the stewardship of local community

Source: Intangible heritage stands up to scrutiny | Bangkok Post: opinion

Rare Bencharong goes on display at River City

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via Bangkok Post, 06 December 2018: An exhibition on Bencharong ceramics in Bangkok.

Bencharong, a distinctive variety of enamelled porcelain made primarily for Siamese royalty of the Chakri Dynasty between the late 18th and early 20th centuries, never fails to amaze people for its brilliant colours, wide selection of motifs and kaleidoscopic compositions.

Not to be missed by Bencharong enthusiasts is the exhibition tilted “Bencharong Journey: From China To Siam”, the first of its kind to be held in Thailand since 1977. The show will take place at RCB Auctions, 4th floor, River City Bangkok.

The Bencharong event, which runs from Saturday, Dec 8, will be curated by ceramics historian Dawn F. Rooney, who is also a scholar and art historian specialising in Southeast Asia, having authored nine books on the art and culture of the region.

Source: Rare Bencharong goes on display at River City | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

Ayutthaya World Heritage celebration scheduled during 7-16 December

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via Pattaya Mail, 01 December 2018:

Ayutthaya – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to celebrate Ayutthaya World Heritage from 7-16 December 2018 at the Ayutthaya historical park. Deputy TAT Governor for Domestic Marketing Noppadon Pakprot said the agency has joined hands with Ayutthaya province, government agencies, and private companies to organize the event, which will be held for the […]

Source: Ayutthaya World Heritage celebration scheduled during 7-16 December – Pattaya Mail

Unesco lists ‘khon’ as cultural heritage

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Source: Bangkok Post, 29 November 2018

via Bangkok Post, 29 November 2018: Along with Cambodia, Thailand’s Khon dance is also listed in Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Source: Bangkok Post, 29 November 2018

Source: Bangkok Post, 29 November 2018

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.

Mr Vira credited the success to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s contribution to preserve and improve the art.

Source: Unesco lists ‘khon’ as cultural heritage | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

See also

ขอนแก่น ขุดพบวัตถุโบราณ นักโบราณคดียืนยันพบหลายยุค เก่าแก่สุดเป็นยุคก่อนประวัติศาสตร์ (มีคลิป)

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Source: Khon Kaen Link, 20181128

via Khon Kaen Link, 28 November 2018: Archaeologists excavate Dvaravati-period remains in downtown Khon Kaen. Article is in Thai but there’s also a video in the story.

Source: Khon Kaen Link, 20181128

Source: Khon Kaen Link, 20181128

คนงานก่อสร้างขุดหลุมฝังเสาพบวัตถุโบราณสมัยก่อนประวัติศาสตร์ถึงสมัยทราวดีอายุราว 800 ปี อยู่ใกล้กับกำแพงคูเมืองเก่า ห่างจากบริเวณที่ขุดพบก่อนหน้านี้เมื่อปีที่แล้วเพียง 200 เมตร…. ดูต่อได้ที่ :

Source: ขอนแก่น ขุดพบวัตถุโบราณ นักโบราณคดียืนยันพบหลายยุค เก่าแก่สุดเป็นยุคก่อนประวัติศาสตร์ (มีคลิป)

Categories: Thailand


[Book] Khmer Temples in Eastern Thailand

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Readers may be interested in Asger Mollerup’s new book on Khmer sites in Northeast Thailand.

This book is the 2nd of three about Ancient Khmer sites outside the present day Cambodia and the first comprehensive inventory of ancient Khmer sites in eastern Thailand since the now more than one century-old works of Étienne Aymonier, Étienne Lunet de Lajonquière, and Major Erik Seidenfaden, describing some 170 Khmer sites in the provinces of Khorat and Buriram in the first two parts of the book.
Part 3 presents the ancient overland route from Angkor to Phimai marked by seventeen fire-shelters (‘dharmasala’), mentioned in a 12th century inscription. Also fire-shrines and fire-offerings are described.

Source: Khmer Temples in Eastern Thailand

Categories: Angkor Books Thailand


[Conference] Heritage Protection: The Asian Experience

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Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this heritage conference in January next year.

The Pan-Asia Conference on “Heritage Protection: The Asian Experience”
Date:  Friday 25th and Saturday 26th January 2019
Place: At The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage, Bangkok, Thailand

At a time of rapid economic, technological, and social changes, the Siam Society Under Royal Patronage, a leading Thai civil society organisation in the field of cultural heritage together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Authority of Thailand, is hosting a conference entitled “Heritage Protection: The Asian Experience”, held in the English language, in Bangkok, on 25th – 26th January 2019. The conference will bring together Asian thinkers, professionals, and practitioners in the field of cultural heritage protection who will examine the meaning of “Culture”, “Cultural Heritage”, and “Cultural Heritage Protection” in Asian nations.

A well-developed corpus of conventions, guidelines, and internationally accepted best practices for cultural heritage protection already exists, which largely arose out of successful European experiences in heritage protection in the 19th and 20th centuries; hence, it is only natural that heritage protection theories reflect such European experiences. This conference invites Asian speakers to describe cultural heritage from an Asian perspective, recognising the diversity of cultures and cultural heritage protection experiences across the Asian continent.

The speakers will look at various aspects of the Asian experience of cultural heritage protection within diverse Asian settings to determine: what are the main obstacles to successful heritage protection; what works and what does not; what lessons can be drawn for Asian people from Asian experiences? Furthermore, they will suggest cultural heritage protection strategies most likely to be effective within the Asian socio-cultural and political contexts, focusing on community involvement, the role of law, and entrepreneurs’ contributions.

The conference will be divided into four sub-themes, each addressed in one of the four half-day panel discussions:

  • Heritage is the living present of the past.
  • People taking ownership of heritage.
  • How to put law to work on behalf of heritage protection?
  • How can entrepreneurial energies complement heritage protection?

Speakers from twelve nations will participate on the panels, each delivering a 20-minute oral summary of the main points of their respective papers. (The abstract of each paper will be published in the Conference Booklet to be distributed to all the attendees.) A moderator will pose questions, solicit audience participation, and conclude the sessions. At the end of the conference, two seminar rapporteurs will synthesize key points and themes that arose during the four sessions. A book compiling the conference papers will come out in 2019 for widespread distribution throughout the Asian region.

Please find the program and more information about speakers and registration at the attached file or visit the conference webpage at

Brittney Schneider, Canadian Charged For Vandalizing Ancient Thai Wall, Won’t Face Jail Time

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via HuffPost, 20181113

via HuffPost, 13 Nov 2018: Kinda expected that they wouldn’t go to jail, but the vandals will still have to pay a fine.

via HuffPost, 20181113

via HuffPost, 20181113

A Canadian woman who was arrested in northern Thailand for spraying paint on an ancient wall has avoided more jail time, but must still pay a $4,000 fine for her actions.

Brittney Schneider, who is from Grande Prairie, Alta., was arrested along with British resident Lee Furlong on Oct. 18 after they sprayed the walls of the Tha Pae Gate — part of a 13th-century structure that forms a square around Chiang Mai’s inner city.

Source: Brittney Schneider, Canadian Charged For Vandalizing Ancient Thai Wall, Won’t Face Jail Time | HuffPost Canada