Thursday, August 2, 2012

LLR (books): Mégalithes du Haut-Laos

Title:  Mégalithes du Haut-Laos (Hua Pan, Tran Ninh)
By:  Madeleine Colani
Publisher/Year:  L'Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient (EFEO), 1935, 2 volumes
Price:  $100-800USD

Lao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos

Consider yourself lucky if you can still find a reasonably priced offering for this 2 volume set.  It's rare and often times found with just one of the volumes available.  Written in French, admittedly it is the most comprehensive study on the stone artifacts from northern Laos.  They are large sized books physically and also in terms of pages with volume one at 270+ and volume two with 350+.  As you can see from the price range shown above, it's quite expensive depending on where you can find it and who's selling it.

These books were the result of a three year study in northern Laos in the 1930s.  The sad part is that a lot of what they (the French) researched they also removed from Laos.  Although a lot of stone jars still exist and are present in Laos, the smaller and lesser known objects are rarely found in the country.  And of course a lot of things were destroyed during the war.  Nevertheless, I do recommend these books for its comprehensive coverage on ancient Lao stone art, objects and artifacts.

A lot of people only think that stone jars (those found in the Plain of Jars in the nothern part of Laos) are what exist of the ancient megalithic culture in Laos.  But in fact so much more was discovered, as this book will show you - ie. carved stone, bronze statues, stone discs, pottery, jewelry, rocks piled up in an orderly manner made to resemble something (I say, something because even I'm not 100% certain looking at the picture).  This is why I find these 2 volume books so fascinating.  When I first read these books more than 10 years ago I had only thought the stone jars were what existed.

Here are some interesting pictures from the book so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about:

Lao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page pictureLao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page picture


Lao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page pictureLao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page picture



Lao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page pictureLao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page picture

Lao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page pictureLao book review - Megalithes du Haut-Laos - sample page picture


Keywords: megalithic, monolithic, neolithic, stone, Lao, bronze

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