Laos : from historic Buddhist temples to modern silk weaving – Thursday 2nd October 2014

By Denise Haywood

Note: The AGM will precede this lecture

An exploration of the sacred architecture of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO world heritage site – a status that extends to the French colonial architecture of the town as well.

Contemporary arts are also discussed – in particular the wonderful silk weaving.

This lecture will explore the sacred architecture of Laos, particularly in Luang Prabang, in the mist shrouded mountains of the north. The natural setting of the town, in an amphitheatre of steep, verdant mountains, enhances its jewel-like identity. In this remote spot, inhabited mostly by saffron- robed monks, there are 32 Buddhist temples, some dating from the C16th, superbly gilded and frescoed, with tiered roofs that sweep to the ground. The ornate shrines and golden Buddhas found in Laos are unique to this artistic culture.
This lecture examines the French legacy of elegant wooden house with Lao motifs, built during the late C19th, which blended harmoniously with Lao secular architectural traditions – a unique fusion of East-West influences.
Finally, there is reference to contemporary art, especially the shimmering silk weaving, once the preserve of the Lao monarchy and an ancient, traditional craft of intricate designs and exceptional beauty that has recently been revived.