Laotian art was heavily influenced by neighboring Siam. Thai kingdoms were established there in the latter 14th cent., and in art and architecture Thai and Burmese models were followed. A few temples of stucco and brick survive but for the most part the typical Laotian architectural medium was and is wood, encompassing the quintessential Southeast Asian roof line of graceful upward sweeping curves. In Myanmar the lower Ayeyarwady valley was the most populous area, and Buddhist art forms merged with native beliefs in Nats. In Bagan a 9th-century Nat temple is among the earliest examples of Burmese architecture. Many examples of later date have the typical Burmese flame element, either above the windows or as part of the roof ornamentation. In their sculptural tradition, the Burmese were conservative, initially following Indian styles and later Khmer and Thai models. Burmese lacquerware, made for use in temples and monasteries, is one of the most celebrated of Burmese arts.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.