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Traditional Korean Mask Dances Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in Culture

There are several Korean mask dances that are considered important intangible cultural properties because they represent Korean culture and history. The Yangju byeolsandae nori (양주별산대놀이) is a mask dance that is Intangible Cultural Property #2. The dance is from the Yangju Region and is known throughout Gyeonggi Province (경기도). Korean mask dances like this one include performers who wear masks and recite dialogues in addition to performing dances.

The Tongyeong ogwandae (통영오광대) is a mask dance that is from the Tongyeong Region and is known throughout Gyeongsangnam Province (경상남도). The Tongyeong mask dance like other mask dances, are funny satires about the greed and arrogance of the yangban (양반) class. The yangban class consisted of nobles and the mask dances often portray these nobles in a negative light with humor. In a way these mask dances were a medium through which the lower classes could get their ‘revenge’ upon the nobles.

The Dongnae yaryu (동래야류) is a mask dance from the Dongnae Yaryu region known throughout the Busan (부산) area. Like many of the mask dances, the Dongnae Yaryu depicted all classes from society from slaves to nobles and was an outdoor type of play where large audiences were entertained on an informal stage. The dialogues of this type of mask dance were often improvised on the spot, especially when interacting with the audience.

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