The Social Sciences

Year: 2018
Volume: 13
Issue: 3
Page No. 701 - 708

Local Stupa: Development Style in Vientiane, Lao PDR

Authors : Bouavone Phommabouth, Burin Plengdeesakul and Homhuan Buarapha

Abstract: The thesis on local stupa development style in Vientiane, Lao PDR was aimed at to study the history of local stupa and to study the development style of local stupas in Vientiane. The study was done through the process of qualitative research. The population and the sample group were selected from specific areas of Sisattanak, Chanthabouly and Sikhottabong District, Vientiane. The tools that the researcher used to collect the data were surveys, observations, interviews and group discussions. The data were then analyzed using structural functional theory, theories of aesthetics, cultural diffusion theory, composition theory and evolution theory and presented using descriptive analysis. The result from the analyzed data shows revealed that within Vientiane City, most stupas in general were built to contain people’s ashes, from the ashes of commoners to the members of the royal families as well as the monks, after the incineration. As for the social structure aspect, stupas are considered as an architectural work based on the imperceptible belief that draws the relation between men and spirits and between men and society, culture and local traditions. The stupas were built as a monument to commemorate the good deeds of the deceased and to be respected by the children and grandchildren. From this belief, during the 7-8th century, during the reign of Phaya Burichan over Vientiane, stupas were built over the buried bones of the monks due to the belief and faith on the teaching of Buddhism. That belief has been passed on to through generations and developed into different styles of stupas, each with tier own uniqueness that reflect that architecture of each era. From the study, the changes happened in 4 different periods: under Siam rule from 1779-1893) under French protectorate from 1893-1954 Lao Kingdom from 1954 and Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1975. The changes can be categorized into 3 clear categories: during the reign of Chao Anouvong: rectangular base of 12 wood indented corners which was unique. There were both big and small structure and each of the part was clearly defined, the base, the body of the stupas and the pinnacle. Some were decorated with patterns. Most of the materials were from nature and built by architecture from the palace under the French protectorate and the Lao Kingdom: the structural forms were similar, low decorated base. The body of the stupas were painted with different colors and synthetic materials were used in combination with the natural materials making a stronger structure and were mostly built by local architectures. Under the rule of the communist over Lao PDR up until the present Lao: the style of the local stupas had been developed to be bigger and varies in the forms, colors and patterns, Starting from the base to the pinnacle. The base of the stupas were mostly basal rings with 12-25 indented corners. The materials were the combination of both the synthetic and natural which make a stronger and more endured based. The architects were mostly local and the architects who graduated from government’s institutions. The stupas that contain the bones of Lao people within the context of Vientiane are all based on this old belief, the belief and faith in Buddhism, spiritualism, local traditions and the good deeds that their ancestors had done and were passed down to the present time.

How to cite this article:

Bouavone Phommabouth, Burin Plengdeesakul and Homhuan Buarapha, 2018. Local Stupa: Development Style in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The Social Sciences, 13: 701-708.

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