According to 3rjewelry, Laos is a country in Asia. Given the great affinity of the Lao and Thai languages, the former is sometimes considered as a dialectal branch of the other. The modest Lao literary production has always distinguished itself from the luxuriant Thai literature for a distinctly popular character. In classical literature the most conspicuous nucleus is given by adventure stories, for example those of the cycle of Ch’ieng Mieng. The kalaket, the surivong and other ballads are poems epic gender, destined to reading and recitation. Drawing on Indian epos and local folklore, they celebrate the exploits of the heroic young men who challenge the powerful to protect the humble. Other works represent literal versions or alterations of Indian fiction, especially the Pañcatantra and the jātaka. Of direct Buddhist inspiration are the songs, lists of merits that provide the faithful with good deeds, paritta and other prayers and propitiatory formulas recited on the occasion of religious holidays. More genuine poetic inspiration are the popular songs that celebrate nature and love and daily occupations. Particular socio-political conditions have made the development of modern literature slower than in other Southeast Asian countries. This situation is primarily due to the conservatism of a largely rural population and the influence of Buddhism; then again to the supremacy of French culture which had made Lao intellectual circles bilingual. It is significant that the first timid signs of literary production (short stories, lyric) appeared in French-Lao bilingual magazines. After the war, the social and political upheavals and the involvement of Laos in Vietnamese war events stifled the nascent Lao literature, with very few figures who managed to emerge, such as Maha Sila Viravongs (1905-1987). Although in the seventies and eighties, radio and television broadcasts from neighboring Thailand and the dissemination of Thai books and periodicals to some extent assigned a subordinate role to the local culture and language, since 1975 Laotian literature has experienced a fair renaissance. The Bird and the Water Buffalo, for which he was awarded the SEAWrite Award in 2002. Among the younger ones we remember Thongbay Photisane (b. 1960), author of Cows and Carts and attentive to the social changes taking place in Laos, and S. Inthavikham (b. 1967). Of great importance to the Lao literary movement is the Lao Writers Association, which promotes and protects writers; as well as a tool for the dissemination, protection and promotion of Laotian culture is the literary magazine Vannasin Magazine (n. 1979).


The most interesting experiences of Laos art are essentially documented by Buddhist architecture, which more than any other artistic activity came in, in the affirmation of different regional traditions that flourished in the centers of Tran-ninh and Louangphabang, Vieng Chan and the valley. of the Mekong, to define the characteristics of the Laotian style, which developed between the century. XIV and XVI. Near the end of the century. XVI (age to which the oldest surviving monuments belong) to the fundamental components of Indian and Khmer art elements of Burmese art were added in the evolution of the Laotian style. The regional variations of the Laotian architectural style originate from the choice of the type of roof which also determines the layout of the building of the hall of worship. While in the northern centers the three-aisled hall corresponds to the type of double slope (or saddle) roof that extends beyond the gables and side walls, in the central and southern regions the adoption of the four-pitched roof allows a greater height of the walls of the hall, which can have a single circular nave, with a cover supported by the external wall, or surrounded by a veranda or portico whose internal dividing wall supports the roof. Among the most important monuments received, many have been rebuilt or restored over the centuries, nevertheless respecting their forms and patterns of origin. Among those in the north, the monasteries (Vat) Vat Bun Ko, Vat Si Ph’um and the Th’at P’uen and Th’at P’ong Peng reliquaries (the tallest structure of the Tran-ninh complexes); at Muong Sui (archaeological station, where the Plain of Jars is located) the Vat Ban P’ong and Vat Ban Mang; in Louangphabang the Vat Chieng T’ong (rebuilt in 1561), the Vat Th’at Luang and the Vat Visun (built in 1503 and rebuilt partly in the 19th century and partly in the 20th century). Among the numerous Buddhist complexes of central Laos we mention next to the recent (19th century) Vat Sisaket, seat of the Archaeological Museum, the famous Vat P’ra Keo (from the 16th century, home to the statue of the “Emerald Buddha”, now in Bangkok) and the original plan of the Th’at Luang (including various buildings and conceived as a symbolic sacred mountain) of the century. XVI. In the Mekong valley, more sensitive to direct Khmer influences, the Vat Ph’u and Th’at Ing Rang complexes arise. The oldest evidence of Laos sculpture, mostly Buddha images and depictions of Dvārapāla (guardians of accesses), belong to the 10th century. XVII and reveal no particular artistic qualities; more interesting are the bas-reliefs with ornamental function of architectural elements.

Laos Arts and Literature

Laos Arts and Literature
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