1 day
2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Shadow Puppet – Cambodia

Experience the beautiful Khmer art form of shadow puppet declared a masterpiece of intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2005.

Siem Reap
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Shadow puppet theatre is always performed at night. Performers use torchlight or electric light to cast shadows of their leather puppets’ engraved designs. The performers build a small theatre at about head height, with a covered roof and walls. In the front, they tie a white cotton sheet like a screen, and put a banana stem behind it to hold those puppets not in use in between scenes. Before a performance begins, the players conduct a ceremony known as Hom Rong. The performers offer candles, incense, flowers and food to the spirits of the people who used to the people who used to perform shadow puppet theatre in ancient times, and ask them for good luck in that evening’s show. The Hom Rong ceremony is also a good opportunity for the performers to collect their thoughts and focus themselves before the shadow puppet show starts.

Experience Cambodia beyond Angkor and discover the beautiful Khmer art form of shadow puppetry declared a masterpiece of intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2005.

The performance involves the projection of firelight to a white screen. Performers then use puppets made of leather to produce shadows and bring to life stories told over hundreds of generations. The stories told in the play often predate the oldest temples at Angkor and use puppets which are pieces of art in themselves due to their fine detail and relief.

Puppetry has always played an important role in the cultural and religious identity of the Cambodian people. It is usually performed to offer both homage to the gods that the play represents and as a way of communicating with them. The performance acts to elevate both the performers and the spectators to a higher level.

Shadow Puppet Theater
Shadow Puppet show

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