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Lkhon Khol Wat Svay Andet
Description Having originated in bhani, a type of drama, mentioned in at least 10th century inscriptions of Cambodia, Lkhon Khol today is performed by males, wearing masks with the accompaniment of pin peat, a traditional orchestra, and melodious recitation. It performs only episodes from Reamker, a Cambodian version of the Indian Ramayana. Lkhon Khol Wat Svay Andet is distinct from the generic form because its specific aim is to propitiate Neak Ta (guardian spirits of a place and its people; in this case the community of Wat Svay Andet), and in so doing, protect and make prosperous the community, its lands and harvest. When Lkhon Khol is performed especially during a fixed date after the New Year, spirit mediums are presented to facilitate interaction between the Neak Ta, performers and villagers. Spirit mediums, who predict the situation for the upcoming year, attend the performance and become possessed by the Neak Ta and then might get on the stage. When the spirits are satisfied by the performance, villagers are blessed by them, and if not, dancers will stop; the music continues; and the audience will fall silent and carefully listen to the spirits. Then the episode must be performed again. nIn Wat Svay Andet, Lkhon Khol has such spiritual significance in the community that some Reamker characters have become local deities in themselves. For example, on the campus of the monastery, a shrine for Hanuman (Monkey General) locally called Lok Ta Kamheng is built and venerated. The mask for Tos Mok (Ravana, King of the Demons) also lives and is venerated in a spirit house at the home of the family that has danced that role for several generations. In addition to the intrinsic specificity of the Wat Svay Andet form, some external differences are noted, such as the fact that three of the key roles are not masked. In fact their faces are painted white, indicating that they are neither mortals nor gods. The costumes, which are very refined with magnificent embroidery, are also different especially from those of the Battambang Troupe. Melodies for recitations are also different and richer. nLkhon Khol Wat Svay Andet is not performed by professional artists, but by the villagers themselves, and they do not perform for money but for merits and their community’s well-being. Everyone in the community is obliged to contribute, either by direct participation in the performance or by sharing support, e.g. financial or labor. Even villagers, who have migrated for work, tend to come back for the ritual and believe that if they don’t come, they could be struck by illness or bad luck.
Manage No VI00000966 Running Time 47:21
Country Cambodia
ICH Domain Performing Arts, Social practices, rituals, festive events
Videos Photographer EBS Year
Place cambodia File Size
Definition File Format
Copyright EBS Copyright
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