Somerset Vientiane is located at the junction of Rue Samsenthai and Rue Setthathilah, where the prominent statue of King Fa Ngum
, the first king of the Laotian Kingdom of Lan Xang, stands.
He traces the legitimising function of Buddhism through the use made of its founding myths (introduction by Fa Ngum
) and national symbols (the Phra Bang, That Luang) up to the present regime.
Ancient kingdom founder Fa Ngum
installed Pou Nyer-Nya Nyer as a protective spirit for his Lan Xang Kingdom six years before the establishment of Buddhism in Laos.
The project to build the statue of King Fa Ngum has been in the works by the Information and Culture Ministry since 1996, and checks are now being made in preparation of the statue's casting in bronze, the Vientiane Times said.
The boundaries of the Lane Xang kingdom created by King Fa Ngum are debatable.
Souneth Photisane, in Chapter 3, presents a brief overview of the sixteen versions of the chronicle of Luang Prabang and argues that all three of the periods described in the chronicle (from Lao prehistory to King Fa Ngum
's birth in 1316 and onwards) should be considered as relevant to historical research.
These were the major elements fused by Fa Ngum into his empire of Lan Xang.
The whirlwind conquest of Fa Ngum, backed by Khmer arms and bolstered by Mongol designs though it may have been,(4) built on an existing Lao population, already politically organized into traditional muang, a political structure already deeply imbued with, and thus reinforced by, Buddhist beliefs.(5) However, Lan Xang sprang not from a simple act of conquest by one man whose individual merit was questionable enough for him to be actually deposed, but from pre-existing conditions created when powerful regional Lao rulers took advantage of the decline of the Khmer power to construct their own independent localized muang.
Chao Anou had recognized the need to recreate the Lao mandala, just as Fa Ngum had originally done.(10) Had he held the Siamese at Khorat and negotiated a settlement posing no threat to Bangkok, it is unlikely Luang Prabang could have avoided being drawn into his expanding Lao mandala.