The religious art of Laos is primarily Buddhist and central to it is the Buddha image, depiction of events from the Jataka tales - folk tales written down after the Buddha's death describing the animal and human forms he had taken in his past 550 lifetimes on his journey to enlightenment, mythological stories and religious symbols. These images, paintings and carvings were created, not to please, but as objects of respect and devotion and their purpose was to instruct, enlighten and deepen faith, bringing merit to both the creator and the person commissioning the object.
Somkiart Lopetcharat in his book, "Lao Buddha - The image and its history", traces the history of Buddhism and the art of the Lao Buddha in the region and the influences that shaped it, at each stage of its development. Like most Asian countries, Buddhist art in Laos, represented collective knowledge and wisdom that developed and evolved over time. Art forms were copied, duplicated, followed and eventually refined and assimilated into the Lao art traditions, creating a truly Lao style.
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