Khmer shadow theatre

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A figure plate used in Nang sbek thom drama

Khmer shadow theatre (Khmer: ល្ខោនណាំងស្បែក; IPA: [lkhaon naŋ sbaek], Lakhaon Nang Sbek) are forms of shadow play in which leather shadow puppets are used. The two main genres include Sbek Thom, which features the Reamker, the other being Sbek Toch uses smaller puppets and a wide range of stories. And another genre called Sbek Por uses colored leather puppets. The shadow plays of Cambodia is closely related to and also resembles the shadow plays of Thailand (Nang yai and Nang talung), the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia (Wayang kulit).


  • Theatre in Southeast Asia, by James R. Brandon (Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press 1967)
  • Theatre in the East, by Faubion Bowers (New York T. Nelson 1956)
  • The Cambridge Guide to Theater, by Martin Banham (Cambridge University Press)
  • Dictionary of Traditional Southeast Asian Theatre by Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof.(Oxford University Press. 1994.)

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