Come see the heritage of the South

Nang talung leather puppets. Samatcha Apaisuwan

Those interested in the cultural heritage and wisdom of the South have until Friday to witness various arts and crafts during "Dance Sing And Play: The Sound Of Nakhon Si Thammarat" at Khun Rattawut Wicharn's House, Ratchadamnoen Road, Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Held in collaboration with Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University and Nakhon Si Thammarat College of Dramatic Arts, the exhibition is part of the Management of National Art Museum of Thailand Project by the National Art Museum of Thailand.

It presents a combination of joyfulness and music of the southern province through nang talung, Thai shadow puppetry; nora dance; and cages of red-whiskered bulbuls. Nang talung is a unique performance with its own style of narration and dialogue, usually based on lifestyle and significant events of the southern region. It serves as a chronicle and reflects the social condition, values and worldview of southern Thais in each period.

Nora dress. photos courtesy of Samatcha Apaisuwan

Each shadow puppet on display was created by craftsmen and differs from one another in terms of appearance and role.

A traditional folk dance-drama from southern Thailand, nora was registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco last year. Visitors will have a chance to witness the nora dress from traditional costumes to contemporary designs, as well as serd or nora headdress, which is an important component and of spiritual importance for dancers.

Music from nature in Nakhon Si Thammarat is provided by little red-whiskered bulbuls, which is heard daily. Their songs are the starting point for the crafting of bird cages. They are built specifically for the birds, which are seen as family members to live and sing a beautiful song every day.

On exhibit are birdcages with different motifs and techniques, such as the traditional train compartment-shaped cage, mother-of-pearl inlaid cage, and ivory bird cage. Each cage reflects the meticulousness and art of the skilled craftsmen.

The exhibition opens daily from 9am to 4pm. There is no admission fee.

Call 062-979-8298.

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