Talchum recommended as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Mask dance or talchum refers to a performance in which a person or several people with masks on to cover their entire face or head, dress up as another person, animal, or god, and play with dance, saying satirical and humorous statements to music. It is a mixed art form and the actors incessantly hurl pungent criticism about social injustices and absurdities. In that sense, the value of talchum in Korean art history is more than an art form for just as something to enjoy.
There are 13 types of talchum that were previously registered as National Intangible Heritage. Bongsan Mask Dance is the most well-known mask dance compared to other mask dances and its dance moves are more active and cheerful. Bongsan Mask Dance has been played every year since 200 years ago on Dano and the night of summer solstice.
A panel of experts and non-governmental officials from around the world evaluated talchum, saying, “It is a performing art that has been passed down by word of mouth, and it is related to the art of making masks in addition to traditions including music, dance, and theater.” They highly appreciated the transmission and sustainability of talchum in that there are still practitioners who inherit traditions or belong to conservation societies, and the public can also learn mask dance as a hobby. The judges also said the its theme of criticizing the absurd social status system is still valid today.
The final decision will be rendered in the 17th Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritages, which is set to take place in Morocco from November 28th to December 3rd. The Korean Cultural Heritage Administration announced that the registration of talchum on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity would serve as an opportunity to strengthen Korean people’s awareness of community and cultural identity.
If it is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, it is expected to receive various support necessary to protect the heritage through the government’s specialized organizations. Kim Sung-hae, chairman of the Bongsan Mask Dance Conservation Association, also welcomed talchum to be listed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The Cultural Heritage Administration also said that if talchum is designated as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind, it will inform the Korean people of the importance of intangible heritage, which will eventually lead to international attention.
<저작권자 ⓒ 먼데이타임스 무단전재 및 재배포 금지>
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