Talchum submitted to Unesco for recognition

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Talchum submitted to Unesco for recognition

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Eunyul talchum, a form of Korean traditional mask dance, is among 13 types of talchum inscribed as intangible cultural heritage in Korea. [CULTURAL HERITAGE ADMINISTRATION]

Talchum, Korea’s traditional mask dance, has been submitted to Unesco for registration as an intangible cultural heritage, Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration announced Wednesday.

“Talchum, or Korea’s mask dance drama, is a form of art that consists of dance, music and theatrical performance and becomes even more complete when the audience takes part by reacting loudly to the show,” the administration said in a statement.

The submission was made on Tuesday, the administration said. Assessments will follow at Unesco, the administration added, and a final decision will be made in 2022 by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Talchum was often a mode of expression for ordinary citizens in Korea in the country’s pre-modern age to vent their dissatisfaction at inequalities and injustices in society.

“It was a form of satire, that usually involves a person telling a story while wearing a mask,” the administration said in its statement. “With the right mix of music and dance, the storyteller pokes fun at the injustices in society.

“But the act doesn’t end at that. It also poses possible ways for society to reach points of compromise for the betterment of many.”

The Korean government began to officially recognize the form of art as an intangible cultural heritage when Yangju byeolsandae nori, a form of mask dancing originating from Gyeonggi, was inscribed as national intangible cultural heritage No. 2 in 1964.

A total of 13 forms of talchum have been inscribed as national intangible cultural heritage, according to the administration.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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