May 29, 2014

Lao Ball Artist

These guys are simply awesome and fun to watch.  Take a look at their incredible skills with the ball and using no hands!  There have several videos posted on Youtube.  This particular one is filmed in Luangprabang, Laos. They call themselves Lao Ball Artists (LBA) and it's described as football freestyling.

May 27, 2014

Archeology in Laos - Dr. Nigel Chang

Vientiane Times did a little profile back in 2011 on Dr. Nigel Chang discussing Archaeology in Laos: Excavating in Sepon, Savannakhet.  If you're curious to see a bit of background on archeology in Laos, here's your video.

May 20, 2014

Anatomy of Traditional Lao Women's Formal Wear

In many cultures across the world, the culture of a specific country and  the opulent designs in their clothing tends to be epitomized particularly in women's clothing.  And Laos is no different in that respect.  Lao women's clothing such as these shown here are considered a high representation of Lao culture.  Textile making is common in Laos but like anything else, not all artisans are of equal talent.

Traditionally, Lao women's wear consists of a shirt jacket (ເສື້ອ), skirt (ຜ້າສີ້ນ) and a scarf/sash (ຜ້າບ່ຽງ).

The pa seen (skirt) or ຜ້າສີ້ນ is traditionally worn by most Lao women.  There are different variations of it such as ones meant for every day wear versus those worn only on special occasions.  They also vary in their material, craftsmanship and quality.  Most are made of silk but there are ones made of cotton as well.  The one shown below here is one of the more ornately detailed pa seen that would only be worn for a special occasion such as a wedding or ceremony.

The one shown here has a beautiful and almost regal combination of colors.  A deep red wine colored silk with hand embroidered gold thread floral motif pattern.  Additionally, the foot or bottom of the skirt is also highly detailed in a thick gold silk pattern with additional trim embroidery.  Furthermore, as if all that was not enough, the artisan went further by hand beading gold spheres and cylinders throughout the skirt.  Generally, the addition of hand beading is not entirely common.  However I was able to find this pair that had it.

Traditional Lao women's clothing - pa seen, Lao skirt
Click image to enlarge to see further detail. Image on the right is a close-up.

May 12, 2014

Lao New Year 2557 Video Footage

Did you miss some of these events during last month's Lao New Year?  Take a look at this video clip posted by the Vientiane Times for Lao New Year 2557.  Snippets include the Miss Lao New Year and other contestants, politicians, hoht pa (blessing the Buddha statues), prayer ceremony, the parade, and Water Throwing Festival.

May 07, 2014

Lao Chicken Meat Salad and Soup

Homemade chicken lap (meat salad) and soup both made in its traditional way.  This video simply makes me salivate.  If you understand Lao, it's funny to listen in on the conversation and how everyone is trying to have their input while the chef is cooking.

Posted by Sao Darly on her visit to Pakse, Laos.

May 01, 2014

Books on Lao Royalty (Royal History)

Inevitably in learning more about Lao history, you will come into contact with lots of details regarding its royal history as the country had been ruled by monarchy for centuries, from 1354 until 1975.

There's a small handful of published items covering the history of Lao royals.  On a peronal note, most of my knowledge of them has come from what I've read and occasionally from what I hear some older Lao people say, as it is all very much before my time.

Depending on where you stand on the issue of monarchies, you may or may not miss these Lao kings and queens.  However, for Lao history learners it is no doubt a key topic.  For those who might be interested, here are some notable titles.  Please note that our list does not include general history books that included Lao royal history along side but rather books that were published exclusively on this topic.  Of course there may be other books on it too so certainly I cannot claim it is an exhaustive list, just hopefully a useful one nonetheless!  They certainly make for some fascinating reading.

Book cover:  Le Royaume du Laos 1949–1965 - Histoire Événementielle de l'indépendance à la guerre américaine by Jean Deuve
Title:  Le Royaume du Laos 1949–1965 - Histoire Événementielle de l'indépendance à la guerre américaine
By:  Jean Deuve
Publisher/Year:  L'Harmattan, 1984, (multiple printings); Depositaire, Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1984
ISBN:  9782296321496
- 387 pages, in French