It’s the sort of environment that could hold my attention for hours. In a heavily-carved and gilded structure that’s tucked away on the grounds of the Wat Xieng Thong temple complex in Luang Prabang, Laos, are stored a fleet of Buddha statues, crackling wooden devotional panels, nagas, and the Lao king’s cremation chariot. Adorned with cobwebs and dressed in dust, they are waiting in the wings for a regal parade.
I entered this spiritual hibernation spot during the golden hour, following a stroll along the Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos. And I wondered – as I always do with antiques, which I appreciate so very much – how many centuries old are they? How many monks’ hands had carefully placed them there? What stories could they tell if only they could speak?
Wat Xieng Thong is one of Laos’ most important temples and is believed to have been built in 1560. ‘Wat’ means ‘temple,’ and ‘xieng thong’ means ‘golden city.’ In the past, Laotian kings were crowned at this Temple of the Golden City.
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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.