The Enduring Sacred Landscape of the Naga
Capturing the vanishing memory of ancient rituals, recited texts, and places imbued with echoes of the past, The Enduring Sacred Landscape of the Naga recounts the lived texture of human experience in the Mekong River valley. The book reconstructs the history of those areas fused with legends and lore of the tutelary spirits of the region known as the ngu (serpent), ngeuak (salt-water crocodile), and naga (supernatural beings with both snake and human attributes). While naga iconography adorns Buddhist temples throughout Southeast Asia, particularly in Laos and northeastern Thailand, the naga's pervasive presence is slowly fading from collective memory. By recording extant oral traditions and relying on the fourteenth-century palm-leaf chronicle Urangkhathat, which many Western scholars have found to be undecipherable, the authors take the reader on a journey of the sacred sites and culture of the region, its reality and nether world, and the flesh, bone, and soul of the naga. Richly illustrated with nearly a hundred photographs, this book will serve as an evocative testament to the unique cultural traditions of the Mekong Basin. Mayoury and Pheuiphanh Ngaosrivathana are two of Laos's foremost scholars of historical and contemporary developments within the Central Mekong region.
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