Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top 5 Day-Glo Lotuses in Vietnam

I have a thing for the popular Buddhist art of Vietnam.
I am a fan of the school of maximilism that informs most of the temple decoration that you see in Vietnam. Indeed, the working title for my book Destination Saigon was 'Day-Glo Lotus and Neon Halo', which I thought captured perfectly the kind of Vietnamese groove I wanted to describe. Sadly, my publishers didn't agree.
So I wanted to present you with a less-than-comprehensive overview of some of Vietnam's finest day-glo lotuses.

  1. An Long Temple, near Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh Province: This is the classic in contemporaray day-glo lotus sculpture. Supporting a colourful statue of Di Lac, the fat, laughing Buddha of the future, this lotus is the hottest of pinks, with the acidest of green contrasts. These kinds of statues are still produced by hand at little workshops all over Vietnam. Made of plaster, they are quite fragile but still remarkably heavy. They are also quite cheap.

2. Hien Nam Temple, Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province: Right near Quy Nhon's massive supermarket sits this more subtle example of an outdoor lotus. Rendered in a faded orange, these outdoor lotuses have to be touched up yearly, and so can undergo quite radical changes in colour from one year to the next. This one is supporting Quan The Am, the Bodhisattva of Mercy.

3. Khanh Hoa Temple, Pham Van Hai St., Tan Binh Dist., Ho Chi Minh City: This is vintage lotus, pre-1975. Much more beautifully and carefully rendered, I'd say constructed on the spot from reinforced cement. This is the largest of the lotuses featured. It is an indoor setting, and the colours are slightly more muted.

4. Giac Vien Temple, Dist. 11, Ho Chi Minh City: This temple is filled with antique wooden statues of great beauty, but these are a couple of the newer additions. The statue in green is quite a unique rendering - I've never seen a deity dressed in quite that shade in any other Vietnamese temple. Her position next to Amitabha makes me think it is a statue of Dai The Chi (Mahasthamaprapta) but I can't be sure, because the iconography is stangely noncommittal.

5. Huong Mai Temple, Hoai Nhon village, Binh Dinh: This is a detail from quite an amazing outdoor statue of Quan The Am at a remote fishing village. The red lotus column emerges from the belly of a dragon painted a quite distinct shade of aqua. This colour is new in temple statues, but I noticed it being used a lot in Central Vietnam last time I was there. I love how even these things are influenced by fashion!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails