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TAEC Update, Luang Prabang, Laos

TAEC Exhibition at the French Institute, Luang Prabang


We are a few months into 2018 but New Year celebrations continue in ethnic villages across Laos! The research team of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) has been here, there, and just about everywhere capturing the sights, sounds, and instruments of Oma, Hmong, Kmhmu, Lahu, and Yao Mien New Year. Much of their research will be showcased in our upcoming special music exhibition opening September 2018! Read on to learn more.

The new year is also a time for the team to gather, reflect, and discuss new initiatives, projects, and artisan programmes for the upcoming season. The core mission of our work continues to be handicraft preservation and development for rural ethnic minority artisans. We are excited to launch our Instagram page to celebrate these incredible artisans, their culture, and crafts with you! Please follow us @TAECLaos!

Happy new year from everyone here at TAEC - Kawp jai lai lai!


TAEC unveiled a specially curated exhibit by Hmong-American textile researcher and TAEC intern, Pachia Lucy Vang. The displays offer a fascinating glimpse of the distinct clothing patterns and designs linked to the migration of the Hmong ethnic group. These textile traditions are explored through their techniques and styles along with folktales associated with their symbolic and cultural meanings. This brief but in-depth look at the Hmong, paints a vivid illustration of Laos’ rich diversity. On display through 16 March 2018 at the French Institute in Luang Prabang.  Monday - Friday, 9am-12pm and 2pm-7:30pm. Free Entry


Our research team was out and about discovering the music, celebrations, and customs of New Year festivals happening in Laos. Here, as in other Asian countries, ethnic groups celebrate at different times of the year, over multiple days, and are based on the lunar calendar. At the end of December, the team attended festivities with Oma, Kmhmu, and Hmong communities. For all, New Year is a time to gather with friends and family both at home and in the village over music, food, and drink. However, each group also has specific festival traditions that bring the community together over days and even weeks! We’d like to share a few of these traditions with you, please visit 

Did You Know?

The music of the mouth organ or “khaen”, the most emblematic musical instrument of Laos, is now inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (Dec 2017). This is the very first inscription for the country on the ICH list and is critical for safeguarding the transmission of knowledge, skills, and meaning of this instrument to future generations! More information is available on the ICH website.

The khaen exists in different shapes, styles, and repertoires among the different ethnic groups of Laos. TAEC will showcase the khaen in our upcoming music exhibition opening in September 2018!

For more information about TAEC, please visit

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