Thailand’s masked dance drama ‘Khol’ now on UNESCO cultural heritage listhttps://indianexpress.com/photos/world-news/thailands-masked-dance-drama-khol-now-on-unesco-cultural-heritage-list-5526212/

Thailand’s masked dance drama ‘Khol’ now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Lakhon Khol 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

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Cambodia’s centuries-old tradition of masked dance Lakhon Khol 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. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Lakhon Khol 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. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

There are different variations in Southeast Asia, all featuring dancers wearing elaborate painted masks depicting the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic poem in which a prince rescues his wife from a demon with help from an army of monkeys. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

But in Cambodia, the art form is still struggling to recover from the Khmer Rouge, under whose genocidal 1975-79 rule at least 1.7 million people, including artists, dancers and writers, died, mostly from starvation, overwork, disease, execution or torture. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Thailand’s version of the dance has fared better than its neighbour’s, but practitioners still depend on recruiting a new generation of performers. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, Phoeurng Sackona, said that the dance needed immediate preservation and urged all people to get involved. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Each mask takes a month to produce, from moulding the plaster to drawing the intricate details. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Ahead of a recent rehearsal, students stretched their legs and hands at the troupe’s a newly built theatre at Wat Svay Andet, a Buddhist temple outside the capital, Phnom Penh. (Reuters)

Thailand's masked dance drama 'Khol' now on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Thailand’s Khon tradition, originally centred on the royal court, is now taught by many schools and universities. (Reuters)