Do you like dance?
Possessing the power to capture imaginations and emotions, and thus to ''transport'' people to other times and places, dance is sensually and socially impassioned. An integral component of spiritual life and rites of passage, and a popular form of entertainment for people the world over.
In Cambodia, this is true as well.
The Cambodian culture is very rich and varied that is what grabs my attention completely. The country shows not only characteristic styles of dance, sculpture and architecture as well.
The height of Khmer culture art and architecture dates from the Angkor period. Common motifs in Khmer sculpture are apsaras (celestial nymphs) which have become a kinda symbol of the Khmer culture. The apsaras are carved with splendidly ornate jewellry, clothed in the latest Angkor fashion and represented the ultimate ideal of feminine beauty of that time. Most of the motifs have been taken from Indian art, and have been modified into what is now known as traditional Khmer art.
Along with the magnificent temples of Angkor, Cambodia's dance traditions are among the world's most luminous and evocative cultural expressions. Dance and music are more than cherished theatrical forms. They are a living kinetic history. They make manifest politics and power, in still social and religious practices, and reflect spiritual values.
A medium across time, dance has long served as the bridge between the natural and the spiritual worlds and from one era to the next.
At New Year time in mid-April, the dancers of the court tradition enact sacred legends meant as offerings. If the deities are pleased with the presentation, then it's believed they will bestow blessings on Cambodia and her people. Villagers perform rites which include dance in propitiation of anchestral spirits at select times throughout the year. As a part of wedding party, guests of all ages dance in circular-patterned social dances.
Cambodian dancers trace their art to carvings of celestial dancers on temples dating back 1,000 years to a time when what is now Cambodia was the center of the vast Angkorian Empire, and to stone inscriptions which pre-date those carvings. The dancers of the Kingdom of Cambodia have for centuries been linnked both to religious beliefs and the monarchy.
which is also known as the coconut shells dance,
is a popular folk dance
is a popular folk dance
Cambodian dances of this tradition are populated with princes and princesses, male and female deities, giants (often evil) and monkeys (often good-hearted). Girls dance the roles of princesses, princes, gods and goddesees, and giants; boys dance that of the monkey. While some works are complex dance-dramas of love and war and magic, others are considered ''pure'' dance pieces, meant to evoke a sense of reverence without telling an explicit story.
Dance, the spirit of Cambodia exemplifies the struggle to reaffirm Cambodia's cultural legacy and share it with a new generation at home and the world at large. As of the millenium, this world-renowned tradition is living testimony to the endurance of Cambodia's culture, and a foundation for its culture. Today as Cambodia emerges from two decades of war, poverty and political instability, its society looks to the rebirth and renewal of these traditions.
So dance is more than a mirror in Cambodia, it is an agent of history.
We, even myself, generally know Japan, China and Korea, but not Southeast Asia. I'd like you to take a journey in Southeast Asian culture through Cambodia.
You need a guide? Well, my dear friend, Kate from Malaysia is right here. Let me state that she recently returned from a trip in Cambodia, read her rich travel notes here and here to learn more about Cambodia, which was previously known Kampuchea, is located at the South East Asia, and with a population of above thirteen million, it is one of the most visited destinations of the world.
In Cambodian Khmer language, I would like to give my or-koon (English: Thank you) to you Kate, for the beautiful postcard of Cambodia which is arrived safely, as photographed above.
Another 'first and unique' addy for my ever getting richer postcard collection!