Thailand Eyes UNESCO Nod for Cultural Icons

The Cabinet has approved the nomination of Thai traditional dress and Muay Thai for UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, seeking to globally recognize these fundamental aspects of Thai culture. 

According to Culture Minister Sermsak Pongpanich, related units, including the Department of Cultural Promotion (DCP), have been tasked with preparing and forwarding the necessary documents to the Thai National Commission for UNESCO, which falls under the Ministry of Education, to be submitted to the international body by March 31, 2024. The initiative follows the successful inclusion of “Tom Yum Kung” and “Kebaya” in UNESCO's list and the earlier submission for the “loincloth” in March 2023.

Discussing the cultural significance and historical richness of Thai traditional dress and Muay Thai, Sermsek noted that Thai traditional dress, evolving over 1400 years from the Dvaravati to the early Rattanakosin period, symbolizes Thai identity and craftsmanship. The attire was enhanced in 1960 when Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother encouraged the study and creation of several styles of Thai dress. Meanwhile, Muay Thai, a martial art with over 300 years of heritage, is known for its comprehensive combat techniques and cultural rituals. This includes the Wai Kru Ram Muay dance, which demonstrates respect for past and present Muay Thai masters.

Discussing the nomination, DCP Director-General Kovit Pakamart said the proposals for Thai traditional dress and Muay Thai satisfy UNESCO's criteria for intangible cultural heritage, noting their contribution to cultural diversity, widespread community involvement in their upkeep, as well as human creativity and ingenuity.

For insights into Thailand's cultural heritage, the DCP provides extensive resources at Discover a range of topics from local customs to international heritage within the website’s "Cultural Knowledge" and "ICH" sections. Updates on the latest cultural events and programs are also available via the DCP's official Facebook page and Line account at @culture.


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