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RAMAYANA MASKS & Mask of Asia : Vietnam


The Kingdom of Chenla or Zhenla, the land of Cham or Champa people, was a vital city-state of the Khmer Empire that had merged after the Funan kingdom came to an end. It was an important port city of the kingdom because merchants had to deport at the Gulf of Tonkin before continuing their land journey. So, this Kingdom had received a lot of influence. As evident from the ancient ruins and numerous excavated merchandise: Sculptures, metal coins, and tableware. When the Land Chenla Kingdom gained its power after the fall of the Funan Kingdom, the new rulers had continued the Hindu beliefs. It is a Kingdom that received civilization from China and India and reached its peak in the 9th-10th-century BE. The architecture and the trace of various arts exist today as major tourist spots of Vietnam.

Later, Vietnam became a tributary state of China during the Tang dynasty. Most art and culture can be seen in golden temples and pagodas. Hindu gods statues are still standing, as many as the Mahayana Buddha images seen from the Khmer-influenced religious ruins that stand nowadays.

The performing art from the epics is also present today, especially from Ramayana, a tourist-favorite and the pride of Vietnam. Other than the masks from the Ramayana that passed on and developed through generations, today’s mask-making art is seen in ethnic groups, tribs, and the countryside. They used these masks as a spiritual means to cure sickness, such as the masks exhibited at MOCA BANGKOK, which belong to the Yao people from the Northern part of Vietnam.