Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Further heritage aiming to join Lakhon Khol

Further heritage aiming to join Lakhon Khol

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Lakhon Khol is performed on Koh Pich as part of celebrations following the traditional Cambodian dance drama’s inscription on the Unesco list of cultural heritage last year. Hong Menea

Further heritage aiming to join Lakhon Khol

As the Kingdom marks the first anniversary of the inscription of traditional Cambodian dance drama Lakhon Khol on Unesco’s cultural heritage list, the government is preparing to have 10 other forms of tangible and intangible heritage registered with the UN body.

To commemorate the inscription of Lakhon Khol, 280 artists gathered in Siem Reap on Thursday night for what a senior culture official said was the biggest ever performance of the traditional dance drama.

Muon Sopheap, the director of the Siem Reap provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts, told The Post on Thursday that the event aimed to commemorate all the national heritage that had been listed on Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The event was jointly organised by the ministries of Culture and Fine Arts and Tourism at the Elephant Terrace.

“Siem Reap province is abundant with widely revered world heritage, so we chose it to hold the ceremony. A similar event was also held at Svay Andet pagoda in Kandal province,” he said.

He said artists and participants observed a minute’s silence to pay respects to the late Princess Norodom Buppha Devi before an Apsara dance was performed, with an orchestra playing traditional musical instruments including the chapei dong veng, a Cambodian guitar.

Princess Buppha Devi, who was famous for her skill and key roles behind the Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, passed away on November 18 from an unspecified illness at a Thai hospital in Bangkok.

A symbol of the Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, Princess Buppha Devi was bestowed the title “Number One Dancer” and “Living Human Heritage of Cambodia” in 2013.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Artists partake in a large-scale performance of the Lakhon Khol dance based on the Khmer Ramayana. Hong Menea

A large-scale Lakhon Khol dance drama based on the Khmer Ramayana was then performed by 280 artists to close the event.

“It is called a night of memory. It means that our Khmer heritage are recognised and inscribed in Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

“We commemorate the event again so that the public and younger generations will remember such heritages as the Cambodian Royal Ballet, Apsara dance, chapei Dong Veng and Lakhon Khol,” he said.

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts said the inscription had significantly boosted the Kingdom’s image on the international stage. It called on people to take part in preserving, protecting and upholding the value of the cultural heritage of humanity.

It said Cambodia had already registered three tangible cultural heritages with Unesco – Angkor, Preah Vihear and Temple zone of Sambor Prei Kuk.

The UN body has also listed five Cambodian intangible cultural heritages including the Royal Ballet, Sbek Thom leather shadow puppets, Khmer tug-of-war, Champei Dong Veng and Lakhon Khol Wat Svay Andet.

Prak Sonnara, the director-general of the culture ministry’s Heritage Department, said Cambodia is hoping to have three tangible cultural heritages and seven intangible cultural heritage listed.

The former includes Khmer noodles, ancient Cambodian martial art l’bokator and silk-weaving. The latter are Kulen Mountain resort, Beng Mealea Temple, Banteay Chhmar Temple, Preah Khan Temple Kampong Svay, Nokor Borei Phnom Da, Banteay Prey Nokor, and Oudong Mountain resort.

“All of them are in our preparatory lists. As far as I know, the government is also considering having other heritages listed, including ambok [flattened rice] and long dragon boats”

Sovannara said Cambodia is rich in cultural heritages, with tangibles including thousands of temples, pagodas, ancient houses, and historical sites. Hundreds of ancient Khmer temples are also located in neighbouring countries.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old