May 04, 2008

261206 Wat Hosieng - 03

ใบเสมา bai sema (also spelt ใบสีมา) with a wheel of Dhamma design, one of eight surrounding the bot that demarcates the consecrated area where religious ceremonies like ordinations take place:


They mark the location of spherical stones called ลูกนิมิต luuk nimit that lie buried beneath. A ninth one lies buried under the middle of the consecrated area. For some reason, the luuk nimit of Wat Phrathat Choengchum in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand (where a 'Lao consultant' now lives), remain above ground.

On an exterior wall of the bot, paintings tell the story of a ຫອຍສັງ hoi sang (conch shell) released to earth by Pha In (Indra):


Guess the artist from a landlocked country had never seen a real conch shell before, & drew it more like a snail shell, which unfortunately looks almost exactly like how turd is illustrated in the ขายหัวเราะ Khai Hua Ror Thai cartoon books that the cat used to 'read' as a kid. This painting didn't help at all:


The elephant butt really made the cat think the men & pachyderm were trying to haul a giant piece of golden elephant pie. Much of the captions had flaked off, so the 'Lao consultants' themselves couldn't recall the entire story nor the name of the protagonist. According to one of them, there's something about the king wanting the conch shell to be brought to him, but no one could make it budge an inch, not even an elephant. A poor orphan boy (plenty of Lao folktales seem to involve poor orphan boys) who learnt from his grandmother the secret of making it move was able to do so using 'black & red thread', & much further into the story a pretty girl or princess emerged from within the conch shell & lived happily ever after with the orphan or something to that effect. The 'consultant' who related these parts of the story is an orphan from a poor family himself, perhaps that's his dream too ;)

Dok jampa (frangipani), the national flower of Laos:


Offerings at the feet of Mae Thoranii:


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