Phat Diem

Phat Diem with Jesus before the bell tower

One of the places I visited on a motorbike tour outside Ninh Binh (I did a lot of travelling from there) was Phat Diem. Sounds like a blessing: may your god have enough food to eat. It's a Catholic church ... A very Asian Catholic church. So much so that the "bell tower" in front of the church (the larger structure you see behind Jesus) has both a drum and a gong in it. While the sculpture you can see in the picture looks decidedly European, some of the carving and iconography on and in the building was obviously done by people who knew the story but had never seen the legacy of artwork the western world has built up around the Christian religion. Not a bad thing, just very different.