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Digital Heritage 2018 3rd International Congress & Expo
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avatar for Replicating the demolished Phralak-Phralam (“the Lao Ramayana”) murals at Vat Oub Mong, Vientiane

Replicating the demolished Phralak-Phralam (“the Lao Ramayana”) murals at Vat Oub Mong, Vientiane

Booth Replicating demolished murals
Replicating the demolished Phralak-Phralam (“the Lao Ramayana”) murals at Vat Oub Mong, Vientiane
by Alan Potkin and Catherine Raymond
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Vat Oub Mong, a Theravada Buddhist monastery on the Mekong left bank in Vientiane, Lao was reconstructed in the 1920s on the site of the earlier temple destroyed by the Siamese razing of Lao Lane Xang in 1827. The then-new vihaan, i.e., main image hall, interior walls were completely covered by extraordinary, but naive wall paintings illustrating the Phralak Phralam, by Thit Panh, a junior monk with no art training: assisted by seven boy novices, and created in only seven weeks in 1932! In the 1990s, with the prestige and fortunes of Vat Oub Mong at their nadir, the decision was taken by the monks and the surrounding community to demolish the old vihaan containing the murals, and to build on its former footprint a vastly more prestigious and imposing replacement structure. In 2006, becoming more familiar with digital visualization software, we devised a technically undemanding but surprisingly-effective methodology for faithfully replicating the demolished murals, which in 2010-2011 we successfully completed on the interior walls of the new vihaan.