Attraction 355, Ban Khamyong, Luangprabang, Laos Published on: 13-11-2015
|09:00 AM - 06:00 PM|
Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is special ?
The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is an independent, non-profit museum dedicated to the ethnic cultures of Laos. Located in a historic building in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the first exhibition space in Laos dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of its traditional arts and lifestyles.
There are over 400 exhibits documenting the life and times of 30 ethnic groups at the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre all supporting Laos’ varied cultural heritage.
TAEC has won international recognition for its engaging and professional exhibitions, its community outreach, and livelihoods activities. TAEC recognises the responsibility it has to the communities and living cultures it represents, and prioritises linkages to and empowerment of source communities through its exhibitions. Currently, TAEC’s Museum Shop supports supplemental livelihoods for over 500 handicrafts producers and their families, primarily women, in 12 provinces of Lao PDR.
What to explore at Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre?
Most visitors arrive at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre initially to visit the museum. The permanent collection is rotated to allow more objects to be on display. It currently includes many examples of traditional clothing as well as textiles created for use in the home. Jewelry is an important accessory for many of the 30 distinct ethnic groups represented in the collection. You can also find handicraft tools, baskets and other household necessities on display. Another aspect of culture addressed in exhibits are spiritual, religious and ritual objects of significance. As you explore the museum, you will discover many signs and plaques that will help you understand each of the objects as well as which ethnic group they belong to
Currently the permanent collection is focused into four specific exhibits representing some of the more well known ethnic groups in Laos. The Hmong are showcased through their New Year’s celebrations which include many fun and interesting courtship traditions. A traditional Tai Dam bedroom has been set-up displaying many of their fine textiles including an elaborate mosquito net. The Kmhmu are known to excel at basket weaving with bamboo as well as their textile work on back-strap looms. Many examples of their creations are on display so you can examine their mastery. The final ethnic group being showcased at the Akha with the highlight being an elaborate headdress made of more than 300 pieces of silver. Exploring the different exhibits will give you a deeper understanding of each of these people you are likely to meet during your travels in Laos.
During your visit to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre you will also have the opportunity to tour a special exhibit which is included with your small entry fee. Currently the Katu people are being featured and you can learn more about their skill with weaving, basketry and especially their woodcarving. Videos being shown will allow you to witness Katu traditions including rituals performed at their communal meetinghouses. When I toured the museum, a special exhibit focused on courtship and wedding customs for the Hmong, Tai Phun and Mien people.
Not only is their a wonderful selection of traditional handcrafted items but you can shop knowing that you are directly supporting the ethnic groups being showcased in the museum. Through the Livelihoods Development Program, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre supports over 500 artisans in 12 different provinces in Laos. All of the items being offered follow fair trade principles and through their efforts these craft traditions can be maintained in rural villages. Most of the artists are women so being able to stay in their homes, near the support of other family members, is critical to the experience. Even if you do not have a trip to Luang Prabang planned in the near future, you can purchase a wonderful selection of crafts through their newly opened online TAEC Shop.
How to get to Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre?
Walk up the base of Phousi Hill from the Kitsalat Rd side near Dara Market and you'll see signs leading the way.
- Insight into Laos tribal traditions
- Good for understanding Lao
- Well worth visiting
- Wonderful Experience
- Saving the arts
355, Ban Khamyong, Luangprabang, Laos
Tips for you
An excellent museum and shop selling local handwoven bags, scarves, clothing with the added bonus that 50% of profits are directed to the local artisans. The quality of workmanship for sale is excellent. There are well prepared displays of each tribe's village living, skills, dress and ceremonies. An essential visit to understand the people of Laos.