Laos Luang Prabang, Vat Visoun2/2


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Inside the large sim is a typical alter with the typical large seated Buddha image surrounded by many standing images. In addition to these, around the outer wall of the sim behind the alter are arrayed many more standing Buddha images. Vat Visoun is adjacent to Vat Aham, so a visit to one typically takes in the other. You can say "Vat" or "Wat", they both mean temple but "Wat" is a Thai word and "Vat" is a Lao word.
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  • Wat Wisunalat (Vixoun, Visounnarath, Vixunhalat, Wisunarat) was originally built during the reign of King Wisunarat (or Vixoun, 1501-1520) in 1513 (some suggest 1512) and represents the earliest style, sometimes referred to as Luang Prabang Style I, of Lao temple architecture. This style also includes the sims of Wat That Luang and Wat Mai. Wat Wisunalat is Luang Prabang’s oldest operating temple.
  • As with the sims of most Lao wats, there are multiple roof structures. In the Style I form the first and second roofs extend around the entire perimeter of the structure. Except for the sim at Wat Mai, which was embellished by two additional gable roofs and two roofed side galleries, the style evokes simplicity, since the sim employs neither the high peaks of the gable nor the dramatic low sweeping roofs of many of the other sims of Luang Prabang.
  • Located and adjoining Wat Aham to the southeast, it was probably built on the rice fields of the guardian spirits of the city (devata luang), Pu No and Na No (Phou Nheu and Nha Nheu). The sacred Prabang image was housed in the sim from 1513 until it was taken to Vientiane in 1707.
  • The original highly ornate wooden sim was a spectacular example of Lao craftsmanship at its finest and was one of the most imposing religious structures of old Luang Prabang. It had a double roof with the upper roof raised high above the lower roof. It was over 118 ft. (36m) long and 59 ft. (18m) wide; perhaps 4,000 trees were used in its construction. Each of the twelve pillars supporting the roof was almost 100 ft. (30 meters) high.
  • There were twenty-one windows with turned wooden balustrades. Louis Delaporte’s engraving of its appearance in the 1860s is included in the series of photographs that follow on this site and shows the unique character of the sim. Most of the partitions of the original building were carved wood, and the exterior, as portrayed in the engraving, made it one of the most beautiful in Luang Prabang. It also housed a major collection of rich religious objects and other objects d’art. Much of the sim and the city were destroyed during the invasion of the Chinese Haw Black Flags marauders in 1887.
  • The sim was rebuilt between 1896 and 1898 and during the reign of King Sakkarin Kamsuk (r. 1894-1903). The style was somewhat to the old sim with its numerous massive wooden beams, window placement and style of the roof, albeit the major part of the structure was brick and plaster in place of the wood. The window balustrades attempt to capture the flavor of the older turned wooden balustrades of the original sim. The sim today continues its existence as a valuable of museum religious art with numerous centuries old Buddha statues in bronze and gilded and unadorned wood, ordination precinct stones and other religious objects.
  • Another important and prominent feature of the wat is its unique That Pathoum, or Stupa of the Great Lotus, in the front and northeastern side of the sim. It is known more popularly as That Makmo, the “Watermelon Stupa” because of its rounded dome. The dome stylistically reflects a Sinhalese influence and is the only stupa of such a shape in Laos, and perhaps even in Cambodia or Vietnam. Originally erected between 1514 and 1515, it was destroyed during the Haw Black Flag incursion in 1887.
  • Inside were numerous ancient Buddha images. Many were destroyed; a number are in the National Palace Museum, and some are in the sim itself. Its reconstruction was not seriously undertaken until the late 1920s, over thirty years after the reconstruction of the sim, and was completed in 1932. The stupa sets on a number of different square tiers and has a Lao-Buddhist style Usnisa crown at its top. Text by Robert D. Fiala, Concordia University, Nebraska, USA
  •   Asanas The pose that a Buddha is in is known as an asana. Buddhas are usually represented either standing, sitting or reclining. When shown standing, he often has one hand raised in blessing and reassurance. When seated he is meditating in the lotus position dhyana. Pictures and images of the Buddha Sayyamuni reclining refer to the end of his life just before he entered Parinirvana.
  • the hand gestures or mudras of the Buddha all have particular meanings. Most symbolize a major event in the Buddha's life, such as his attainment of enlightenment or his first sermon, while others represent a characteristic act such as giving of charity or of reassurance to his followers.
  • The Snail Martyrs There is a later legend that when the Buddha was sitting under the Bodhi tree he was so deep in meditation that he was unaware that it was extremely hot. A group of snails saw him and realising the importance of his thoughts, crawled up to cover and protect his head with their bodies.  The snails died from exposure to the hot sun and became honoured as martyrs who had died to protect the Buddha.  In some images of the Buddha, his hair curls do indeed resemble snails to remind people of this story. 
  • Lotus flowers Lotus flowers often appear in images of the Buddha. It is a symbol of things which are pure and good.  A lotus is a flower that begins its life in the mud at the bottom of a pond and then rises to the surface to flower.  It therefore reminds people that in the same way, people can rise above their problems and achieve enlightenment. 
  • Elongated ears One feature that is regularly used but is not considered a Lakshana is showing the Buddha with elongated earlobes: these are to remind us that the Buddha was once a prince who wore a great deal of jewellery including heavy earrings which stretched out his earlobes. Although he gave up the wearing of any jewellery when he gave up his life of luxury, his earlobes remained elongated. 
  • The Palmleaf Manuscripts
  • The image of the Buddha is distinguished in various different ways.  The Buddha is usually shown in a stylised pose or asana. Also important are the 32 lakshanas or special bodily features.
  • Lakshanas Some of these symbolise aspects of the Buddha's spiritual character whilst others draw attention to the concept that his beautiful and perfectly proportioned body is an outer reflection of inner spiritual power. These are drawn from the ancient Indian concept of the Mahapurusha or 'Cosmic Being'.  Iconography of the Buddha - Victoria and Albert Museum
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  • Laos Luang Prabang, Vat Visoun2/2

    1. 2. Luang Prabang patrimoniu universal UNESCO Vat Visounnarath 2
    2. 3. Templul Vat V isounnarath a fost construit iniţial în anul 1513 pe lanurile de orez ale spiritelor protectoare ale oraşului, Pu No şi Na No, în timpul domniei regelui Vixoun (1501-1520) şi este cel mai vechi templu din Luang Prabang. În anul 1887 atât oraşul cât şi templul au fost distruse de invadatorii chinezi, iar templul a fost reconstruit de regele Sakkarin Kamsuk (1894-1903)
    3. 6. Templul Vat V isounnarath adăposteşte cea mai mare statuie din Luang Prabang a lui Buddha precum şi o impresionantă colecţie de statui ale acestuia în postura numită „Buddha rugându-se pentru ploaie” .
    4. 9. Din cele peste 50 de ipostaze în care este reprezentat Bud d ha, doar în Laos există mudra „Bud d ha rugându-se pentru ploaie”
    5. 28. L uang Prabang Fotografii: ♦ Sanda Foişoreanu ♦ Nicoleta Leu ♦ Sanda Negru ţiu ♦ Jean Moldovan Prezentare: Sanda Foişoreanu Muzic a : ♦ Gheorghe Iovu – Nu ştiam ♦ Reum bang