This Buddha statue stood out from others at Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang because the gilt on his face and neck was not the usual smooth gold paint that I had seen on other Buddhas in Laos. Instead it appeared as if small postage-stamp-sized pieces of gold leaf had been haphazardly applied over the original surface. There was no one around to ask, but I’m pretty sure that the gold leaf was not part of the original statue. The pieces were probably applied by worshippers at the wat as a form of offering to Buddha. I saw a similar thing at Sarnath in India, where pieces of gold leaf now adorn the giant stupa marking the site of the Buddha’s first sermon. On the smaller Buddha statue in Luang Prabang, the effect is distinctive and, I think, quite beautiful.