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Nang Sbek

(Shadow Theatre)

History and background of Court Dance

Dance Costumes & Dance Characters

Royal Dance Spectacle

Classical Court Dance Music

Masked Theatre (Lakhon Khol)



photograhed by Jacques Brunet

Nang sbek (shadow theatre) is closely related to the nang of Thailand, wayang kulit of Malaysia and Indonesia like the Islands of Java and Bali. Thus implying that nang sbek may have came from an Indonesian or Malaysian origin from many centuries ago. Nang sbek is also a dying art form and may disappear because of the decline in popularity over the years with the introduction of modern entertainment. Before the spread of modern technology such as movies, videos and television the Khmers enjoyed and watch shadow theatre apart from the other sources of entertainment available around during that time.

There are three kinds of shadow theatre in Cambodia: 

The Khmers are making leather puppets as souvenirs to decorate the homes and offices of wealthy Khmers and foreigners. Many Khmers and Khmer scholars believe that Angkor is home of nang sbek thom and nang sbek toch. The bas-relief of Angkor Wat with the north west gallery depicting scenes of the Reamker the episode of the Battle of Langka.