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Monastery, Cell, Drum Shelter, and Library


ກຸຕິ, ກຸຕິນ້ອຍ, ຫໍກອງ ແລະ ຫໍໄຕ

Monasteries, formerly constructed from light materials and on built on stilts, are nowadays mostly constructed from masonry with compartments including the monks’ lodgings and a dining room. These buildings have nevertheless preserved their ancient form and their roofs and facades are generally decorated with carved woods.

In the past, most monasteries featured small cells that were usually constructed in wood and on stilts. In the first month of the Twelve Rites, monks who had committed misdeeds during the past year came to isolate themselves in order to “ask for pardon”.

Almost always confined to the northern part of the viharn is a building without walls and at times built on stilts. By token of the shape of its roofing, it resembles a plain sanctuary which is used as a shelter for the pagoda’s great drum. Like the gong, the drum is used for the call to prayers as well as to announce holy days, to mark important events like the Laotian New Year, village festivities, bereavements and festivals.  The drum is made from a single piece of tree trunk of about 1 meter in diameter. It is hollowed out and covered at both ends with taut cowhide. Its manufacture and installation used to be accompanied by numerous rites.  The libraries, previously on stilts, were meant for storing and protecting the manuscripts kept in chests shaped like inverted pyramids. These square-shaped structures with flared walls were constructed from different natural elements; raised on an elevated base and covered with peripheral-style roofing. The Vat May library, which is no longer in existence, was a perfect example of this type of architecture.


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