Kangnyong Mask Dance

Among the intangible cultural heritage elements of the DPRK is the Kangnyong mask dance.

The Kangnyong mask dance was created under the influence of the Haeju mask dance which had been popular in the area of South Hwanghae Province in the early 20th century. From the outset of its creation, it began to make big strides thanks to the activities of local civil artistes.

It consists of eight chapters. Its main technique is the movement of slowly swinging jangsam (a kind of extension of sleeves that cover up hands) above the head.

It did not exert a great influence on other areas and gradually disappeared during the Japanese military occupation of Korea (1905-1945) due to its policy of obliterating the national culture of Korea.

It was revived after Korea’s liberation (August 1945) thanks to the measures taken by the state to preserve the national cultural heritage.

The Kangnyong mask dance is widely performed by the local people.

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