September 30, 2012 – January 6, 2013

Korean mask dance drama takes various forms and names (talchum, sandae noli, ogwangdae, talnori, yayu) in different parts of the Korean peninsula, but the characters and the performance patterns recur in comic scenes that play at festivals and in open-air markets.

These styles have roots in early shamanism and Buddhism, but were molded, as we know them today, by the low-status entertainers in the Yi dynasty (1392–1906) and were battered during Japanese colonial rule (1910–1945) and the Korean War (1950–53). The forms only emerged as protected national “intangible cultural properties” from the 1960s. in the 1970s–1980s these forms were revitalized as students took up the masks, drums, dances and the biting political satire of the genre into the democracy movement in political protests and guerilla theatre (madang geuk, open air theatre).