May 23, 2012

LLR (book): Art et Archéologie du Laos

Title:  Art et Archéologie du Laos
By:  MadeleineGiteau
Publisher/Year:  Picard, 2001
ISBN:  9782708405868

Lao book review - Art et Archéologie du Laos
Books written exclusively on Lao art and archeology are far and few between.  When I first started researching the topic years ago, the majority of them were in French and were written decades ago.  One of the few books I was able to find that was written in the 2000s was this book.

Written by the late author and historian, Madeleine Giteau, this was her last book before her death in 2005.  She was also a part of L'École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO) which was a French art history research organization setup by France during its colonization of Southeast Asia.  She was one a several among that organization that went on to publish important works on Southeast Asian art history.

This book is a treasure trove on Lao art history and archeology.  It covers the stone carvings found in Laos to ancient metal drums to temple art and architecture and everything else in between.  It's very in-depth and contains lots of gorgeous images to accompany all the text and research. 

Additionally, Giteau brings together her own material and at the same time borrowed some images and info from previous French publications (and who were likely some of Giteau's former mentors and colleagues who published books on Lao art and who were a part of EFEO as well).

My only criticism on this book is that I wish that it had been published in English and Lao.  It would sell so many more copies and be of even greater use to others if this was the case.  If you can read and understand French then this will be a great resource for you.  If not, you can at least appreciate the pictures :-P.  Either way, I do recommend this book.

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