The Pra Bang, or Holy Golden Buddha', is a
standing bronze Buddha covered with gold leaf. It weighs 43.4 kg and is 0.83 metres high.
Melted and cast in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the VilIth century this statue was given to Fa
Ngum in 1358 by his father-in-law upon his departure to conquer his kingdom.
his coronation as King of [an Xang, Fa Ngum elevated this statue to the rank of the
kingdom92s Holy Guardian. He left it in Vientiane, while he made Xieng Dong-Xieng Thong
(Luang Prabang) his capital.
In 1489, King Sam Sene Thai installed the Pra Bang at Vat Xieng Kang. Two years
later, it was transferred to Vat Manorom on the occasion of the change of name of the
capital to Muong Luang Prabang. King Vixunnarath transferred the Pra Bang to Vat Vixun in
1513. In 1560, King Say Setihathirath, transferring his capital to Vientiane, took the
Holy Guardian with him.
In 1779, the Siamese seized it and returned it four years later. The Pra Bang
was taken to Bangkok once again in 1828, to be returned to Soukhaseum, King of Luang
Prabang, later in 1839.
In 1894, King Sakharine transferred the Pra Bang to Vat May where it remained
until 1947, when it was placed in the Royal Palace, now the National Museum.
Each year, on the third day of Pimay or Men Sang Khan Kheun, Day of the
Arrival of the New Year's Thtelary Deity, the Pra Bang is taken in procession to Vat May.
It is exhibited at the purification shrine, surmounted by two hang lin to receive water
dispensed by the people.