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Shadow Puppet Plays

Very seldom seen these days except in the south are the shadow puppet plays known as "Nang Yai" and "Nang Thalung". Nang Thalung is the more popular of the two where puppets crafted from cow hide have strings attached for better character movements. The puppeteers then move these along with the music and comical dialogs. Meanwhile, Nang Yai have become rather rare these days and the puppets are larger in size than those of the Nang Thalung.

Traditional Thai Music

Traditional Thai music is a blending of musical elements from a number of cultures, such as Chinese, Khmer, and Indian. This applies not only to the instruments but also to the melodies. Therefore Thai music can be said to be derivative. Notwithstanding that fact, Thai music has developed into a distinct form, which is regarded as belonging to the 'high' musical cultures of Southeast Asia.


Amongst the most famous of Thailand's cultural show is the Khon. Khon masked drama evolved in the royal court of Siam, although its roots lies in folk dances of the countryside. Here, performers don elaborate jeweled costumes; men wear masks and women gilded head-dresses. Music accompanies the dance and the dialog and songs are performed by an off-stage chorus.


It is thought that likay originated from Muslim religious performances. It was adopted by the Thais and in time become primarily a comedy folk art enjoyed by common people with singing and dancing. In recent years, likay artists have begun to incorporate political jibes into their repertoires. Cultured people in Bangkok used to look upon likay as rough and unsophisticated. But today, it has gain greater recognition as an art form.

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