The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has organised a media series on ‘Khon’ – the beautiful and mesmerising masked dance drama of Thailand – to help spread knowledge about this traditional art form both in the kingdom itself and around the world.
An unmistakably valuable element of Thai culture and a wonderful depiction of ‘Thainess’, Khon was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2018 – making it the first Thai performing art to join the list.
Khon is among Thailand’s most significant performing arts. The Department of Cultural Promotion under the Ministry of Culture in 2009 declared Khon as the national Intangible Cultural Heritage.
An important style of performing dance and art dating from the Ayutthaya period, Khon has its own unique identity that incorporates different fields of the arts, literature, rituals, and crafts. It is also seen as portraying viewpoints, mottos, moral principles, and ethics that can be applied in daily life.
Traditionally performed in royal or princely courts and today on a wider scope in educational institutions, schools, villages, and other locations throughout Thailand, Khon has been passed down from generation to generation.