Vientiane Laos Art

In recent years, as Southeast Asia has become more urbanised, a theatrical derivation of lam pheun, known as lam luang, has emerged. The increasing number of people in urban areas, especially in cities, has led to an increasing number of different forms of performance art such as theatre, dance and music. In recent years, however, the lam liang has evolved into a group of up to 30 performers performing in different roles, often in different parts of the city at the same time.

In 1975, two provincial art schools were founded in Luang Prabang and Savannakhet, and in 1982 the National Art Teacher School was opened. The first Western art school was opened by the director of the Lycee de Vientiane, a cross-border communist association who studied art in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. From 1940 to 1945 he taught traditional drawing, metal working and graphic arts there, and later until 1975 art at the Lycea de L'Arts. I met him in 1975 when I was walking past his school, which also included a study in neighbouring Thailand, on my way to work.

I was guided by the caring hands of Souliya Phoumivong, who introduced me to Vientiane's art scene, and his interlocutors were crucial. He gave me access to artists who first sold their works at street markets by the river.

I painted the Laotian version of Ramayana, known as Pharak Pharam, using a variety of materials including wood, paper, cloth, paint and ink. I made a series of pictures on a cloth painted on the back of a sermon cloth with the words "Vientiane" and "Lao" in the background.

In Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, bronze, called samrite, contains precious metals and is often a glossy dark grey colour that gives the newly cast images a dark brown colour, similar to the colour of gold. Some have a subdued gold color, given by a high copper and probably gold content. Some large paintings are cast in gold, some say, from the sixteenth century, which was transferred from Thailand to the late eighteenth century by the Siamese.

Hein Barbetti and Sayavongkhamdy [4] say that this is different from the Lao kiln, which is much more advanced than the Siamese type found in Suphanburi and Si Satchanalai. In the examples collected so far, it can be said that the fire is of a different kind than that of the Siamese, whose fire burns in the same way, but at a much higher temperature. Some claim that in classical music in Laos a tempered heptaton scale is used, known to ancient Hindus as the heavenly scale (Gandhara grama), in which each octave is divided into seven equal parts. The ceramics of Laos use a kind of clay, where 5 percent quartz is added to calm the mood.

In Thailand, where there is a large ethnic Lao population, the magistral singing accompanied by Chene is popular. Although no longer popular in the city, lam luang is often used as entertainment for the educated public and has retained its appeal in other parts of the country.

The National Institute of Fine Arts, where Souliya teaches, began teaching lam luang in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Various regional styles have been identified, including stripes, but much remains to be done. Although the production of ceramics in Laos is comparable to that of other countries in the region, the site is stocked with many different types of ceramics, some of which date back to the early 20th century. Most ethnic minorities live in wooden or bamboo houses, and some live mainly in traditional Lao houses. In the past, most ethnic minorities lived in wooden houses, many of which were built of wood and bamboo.

The most famous is Phra Keo, whose unfortunate renovations have changed the appearance of the sculpture and it no longer resembles a Laotian Buddha. What still exists has been restored, often using modern pigments (see this one, for example). Besides Pha Keos, Phras Phuttha and Butsavarat are anchored in the temple as well as a number of other temples and shrines in Laos and Thailand.

This crystal was a palladium from the Lao kingdom of Champassack until it was confiscated by the Siamese in the early 19th century. Today it resides in the Grand Palace in Bangkok and serves as the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Several Buddha sculptures of the Mon Khmer, restored from the central and southern provinces, have been exhibited in museums. The religious art traditions of the region have received significant public attention in recent years, especially in Vientiane. One of them is carved into the rock face of Vangxang, north of Vientsiane, as well as several other sculptures in various stages of completion.

It seems to be the oldest colossal sculpture, but there are also some in Thailand, in Bangkok and Lopburi.

More About Vientiane

More About Vientiane