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Thailand

Nang Talung

Nang Khuan, Nang Khaek (former name)

Shadow Play


Thailand_A08_NangTalung

(from left)
- The figures are manipulated from behind the screen.
- Nai nang is manipulating the figure and narrating the dialogues.
(c) ONCC


The Nang Talung is a shadow play which uses figures perforated and cut from animal leather. The figures are manipulated from behind the screen. The manipulation is accompanied by narration, dialogue and music.


Reasons for selection

People of earlier time love to watch the Nang Talung because of the Nang figures, the master's dexterity in the manipulation of the figures, and the skill of the nai nang in telling the story as well as in delivering dialogue. The Nang Talung now seems to be out of favor with the modern generation because of the advent of new forms of entertainment.


Area where performed

Southern part of Thailand


Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Puppet Theatre, Screen and figures


Detailed explanation

The Nang is a shadow play, which uses figures perforated and cut from animal hide or leather (hence the word nang). The figures are manipulated from behind the screen; while the light (coming from a torch or a bonfire)beyond the backstage area throws the shadow of the figures onto a screen. The manipulation of the Nang is accompanied by narration, dialogue, and music.

Among three types of Nang in Thailand, Nang Yai, Nang Siam, and Nang Talung, Nang Talung is still the favorite. A Nang Talung troupe has 9-12 members composed of a master (called nai nang or nai rong )who skillfully manipulates almost every figures and narrates in different voices, a joker-manipulator, a ritual performer and musicians.

The size of the stage is about three meters long by two meters wide. The screen is made of white cloth, ten feet long and five feet high. All four edges are sewn together with red cloth tape about four inches wide. A rope is strung through the edge to stretch the screen.

The performance begins with the traditional manipulation of the Nang figures called Chab Ling Huakham (the story of the fight between the good white monkey and the bad black monkey). After that, the Nang figures of a hermit and Siva riding an ox appear. Then the words of worship are pronounced. When this part is over, the figure of the joker is manipulated to reveal the story to be performed.

The Ramayana of Ramakien used to be the most popular story, but today the favorites are the Buddhist Jatakas, specially new written stories, and stories adopted from modern novels.

Regarding the origin of Nang Talung, many Thai experts agree that the Nang Talung was influenced by the Javanese Nang, which are derived in turn from India.


Publication and textual documentation

ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, ed.
1986 The Cultural Traditional Media of ASEAN.
ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information. In English.

ONCC and Fine Arts Department, ed.
1999 Thai Performing Arts.
ONCC and Fine Arts Department. In Thai.


Audio documentation

no information at present


Visual documentation

no information at present


Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

Ministry of Culture
onccthailand@yahoo.com
http://www.m-culture.go.th

Office of the National Culture Commission
onccthailand@yahoo.com
http://www.culture.go.th


Data provider

Ms. Sudhasinee Vajrabul
Director, External Cultural Relations Division
The Office of the National Culture Commission
Address: 4 Ratchadapisek Road, Huay Kwang, Bangkok 10320, Thailand

(Revised in July 2004)
Ms. Darunee Thamapodol
External Relations Division, Ministry of Culture
4th Floor, ONCC Bldg., Ratchadapisek Road, Huay Kwang, Bangkok 10310, Thailand