Gwanno mask drama from Gangeung Danoje festival at Hue Festival 2008.

The mask drama was revived when it was registered as an important Intangible Cultural Heritage in the 1960s.

The Gangneung Danoje traditional festival is a community festival held in Ganeung, the region east of the Korean peninsula’s Taebaek Moutain range. Religious rituals performed in the festival are originated with the heaven worshipping ritual of Dongye, an ancient tribal nation, and have been handed down for many generations up to now. It is held to preserve the history of the rituals, production and pastimes of the Korean people.

Gangneung Danoje traditional festival is a traditional folk festival that combines performances of music, dance, folk drama and oral narrative poetry, and where various pastimes are enjoyed, such as winging, wrestling, tug of war, etc.

The most favourable perfotmance is Gwanno mask drama. This is the unique traditional pantomine in Korea imbued with satire and hunor and also the undispensable performance in the festival.
The mask drama is a satire at the upper yangban class, emphasis of  honest peasants, the traditional agrarian values, prayers for peace in the village, bountiful harvest and abundant catches of fisg, and shaman rituals’. Unlike other mask dances that are fraught with satire, the Gwanno mask drama emphasizes prosperity of the community. It is the only masked pantomime in Korea, performed in dances and movements only.


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