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Phase I : Pilot project in Luang Prabang

Through the establishment of the "Training Centre for Laotian Traditional Temple Arts and Building Crafts", the project has succeeded in documenting and revitalizing a number of traditional decorative arts and building crafts.

About Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, is an extraordinary historic city that was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lane Xang. Founded as early as the 14th century, Luang Prabang was one of three important Laotian political centers. After the establishment of the French protectorate in 1893, Luang Prabang remained an important city, especially as the residence and traditional capital of the ruling family of Luang Prabang. [more..]

Project background

Luang Prabang features a rich local heritage which combines traditional architecture and urbanism with French colonial influences.  The city is famous for its scores of Buddhist temple complexes, some dating from as early as the 15th century, which display the highest refinements in decorative arts and building crafts.  The traditional systems of crafts training and consequently temple maintenance and building was traditionally located within the monkhood. [more...]


The basic aim of the project is to provide training in traditional arts and crafts, especially skills relevant to the repair and decoration of religious properties in Luang Prabang. [more...] 



It is clear that the project has filled an important hiatus in Luang Prabang and northern Lao PDR. Temple based master-apprentice training in traditional temple arts and building crafts, something that was lost a generation ago, has been revived with verve. Over 30 monks and novices are enrolled in the training and senior monks assist in teaching the younger generation. [more...]



Findings and recommendations

The most important lesson learned is that the survival and revival of traditional temple arts and building crafts within the Buddhist sangha is (still) achievable. In Luang Prabang we were just in time to catch some of the former spirit and skills. In other areas, if we wait too long, we might just be too late and miss this great opportunity. [more...]



(top to bottom) © UNESCO

Implementing partners

In addition to the overall project partners, the pilot project in Luang Prabang has been implemented in partnership with:

  • Lao PDR National Commission for UNESCO
  • Government of New Zealand
  • Government of Norway (NORAD)
  • Luang Prabang Department of Information and Culture
  • Luang Prabang School of Fine Arts
  • Luang Prabang Buddhist Sangha
  • Nordic World Heritage Foundation
  • Traditional Masters

[Phase II: Regional expansion...]