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art and architecture
•  Archaeology   •  Architecture
•  Wood Carving   •  Sculpture
•  Painting    
Archaeology top
•  Tilaurakot   •  Varahakshetra
•  Gotihawa   •  Narshinga Tappu
•  Sgarahawa   •  Janakpur
•  Bhediari   •  Simaraongad
Over the past few decades archaeological work has been conducted in the terai region of the country where Nepal’s first settlements were probably located. Tilaurakot, for example, used to be the capital of the Shakya dynasty. It is situated in Kapilbastu district in western Nepal.
Gotihawa top
Gotihawa, rich in possession of ancient ruins is situated eleven kilometers south of Tilaurakot and six kilometers south west of Taulihawa, the present district headquaters. To the north of Gotihawa village, there is an ancient brick sutpa and an Ashokan Pillar.
Sgarahawa This site is located two kilometers north of Tilaurakot on the bank of the Banganga river. It was excavated in 1896 and seventeen miniature stupas were found there.
Bhediari top
Located nearly ten kilometers south of Biratnagar, the ancient ruins at this site include many important brick temples. There is a two- meter high rectangular platform supported from inside by cross walls.
This is another important temple site located at the confluence of the Koka and Koshi rivers. The site is known to belong to the period of later guptas, who had issued a copper grant for the two Varaha images found there.
Narshinga Tappu top
Some years ago, while cultivating at Narasingha Tappu, close to the present town of Itahari, an idol of Vishnu was discovered. The image belongs to the fifth or sixth century A.D. and is of the Gupta tradition. It is now kept inside a local Shiva temple.
At Ram-janaki temple comples near Janakpur there is an important image depicting Uma lying on a bed and feeding a baby. Ganesh and Kumar are also depicted in the panel while on the pop of the scene is a shive linga. The piece datesback to the twelfth of thirteenth century A.D. and belongs to the Karnatakas Simaraongad.
Simaraongad top
This was an old capital city of the Karnatakas of Mithila and was built by King Nanyadeva in A.D. 1097-98. the ruins of the city extend over an area of 16 kilometers, which is still surrounded by a high wall of kiln burnt bricks. There are more than one hundred images and sculptures scattered throughout the area.
Wood Carving top
wood carvingBesides stone sculpture another art form worth mentioning is woodcarving. No visitor to the Kathmandu valley can go without being impressed by the numerous extremely beautiful windows, intricately carved artifacts. As wood is vulnerable to the ravages of time, will preserved specimens date back only to the fourteenth century. Woodcarving has been an integral part of Nepalese architecture, some of the examples being the old royal palaces of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur and a number of different Viharas (monasteries) around the valley.
Painting top
thanka paintingTwo media that reveal a lot about Nepalese culture, both past and present , are painting an sculpture. Fortunately, there are many fine and well-preserved pieces that have survived the passage of time and thus enable detailed research to be made. Looking briefly at the history of Nepalese painting, it appears that ancient icons and religious paintings entered the valley during the Lichchhavi period. Lichchhavi inscriptions inform us that traders, monks and Brahmans as well as artists from neighboring areas, visited Kathmandu Valley from the mid-fifth century A.D. the visitors ma have brought religious icons and paintings with them, which served as models for local artists.

The Chinese envoy, Wang Hsuan Tse, who came to Nepal in the seventh century AD; described quite eloquently the houses in the Valley, which at that early time were embellished with sculptures and paintings. Although there are no surviving examples of paintings from the Lichchhavi period, it can be surmised that the murals or wall paintings noticed by the Chinese envoy were just as sophisticated as the surviving pieces of culture from this period.

Religious paintings worshipped as icons are known as Paubha in Nepalbhasa and Thanka in Tibetan. The origin of Paubha or Thanka paintings may be attributed to Nepalese artists as early as the ninth of tenth century.
Architecture top
architectureNepalese religious architecture is another art medium that is an important part of the country’s cultural heritage. There are three broad styles – the pagoda style, the stupa style and the Shikhara style.

Pagoda style refers to multi-roofed structures with wide eaves supported by carved wooden struts . Windows, either latticed of grilled, are usually projecting, while the roof is generally topped off by triangular spires enclosing an inverted bell of stucco or burnished gold.

The Swayambhu and Boudhanath shrines are Nepal’s first examples of the Stupa of Chaitya style. This style is purely Buddhist in concept and execution. The outstanding feature of the Stupa is a hemispherical mound topped by a square base supporting a series of the thirteen circular rings.

The Shikhara style forms yet another architectural design found in Nepal. The super structure is a tall curvilinear or pyramidal tower whose surface is broken up vertically into five to nine sections.
Sculpture top
sculptureAn art form that traces Nepalese culture from its early beginnings right up to modern times is sculpture. As previously mentioned many carved artifacts have been found in the Terai region of the country, providing an insight into the religion of the country of early times. Nearly al Nepalese sculptures are of a religious characters. It seems that the artists themselves were greatly imbued with a feeling of religious devotion.

Nepalese sculpture reached its zenith in the Lichchhavi period (AD 330 – 879), stone, copper, and bronze images from this period show around faces with slanted eyes. A distinguishing feature of Lichchhavi sculpture is their simplicity. The use of clothes and ornaments was quite restrained, many Hinku deities, for example , are shown wearing only a Dhoti ( skirt like lower garment).

Buddhist wear hanging from the shoulders). Lichchhavi period sculptors most offer used basalt for their work, first chiseling and then smoothing and varnishing, perhaps with iron dust. The limbs of Lichchhavi period idols were so beautifully executed that it is not possible to find one specimen with a chisel mark. Some of the best examples of lichhabi art are the image of “ Sleeping Vishnu” in Budhanilkantha, located eight kilometers north of Kathmandu and the Vishnu vikranta or Dwarf Incarnation found near Lazimpat in Kathmandu.
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