Nepal Art is unique, exotic and
enchanting. Nepalese expressions of art, classical and modern style, are
embedded in the daily practice of religion. Craftsmanship is most easily
found in temples, architecture, shrines, fountains and the designs of
Art Galleries and Museums in Nepal
It is this thriving milieu that makes a visit to the art galleries of
Kathmandu a pleasurable and rewarding prospect. A list of famous museums and
galleries are presented below which should serve as a preliminary guide to
Major forms of Art in Nepal
|The Natural History Museum
|The National Library
|Nepal Art Council Gallery
||Near Tribhuvan International Airport
The real architecture of Nepal is found in the Nepal Temples, stupas and
other religious buildings and monuments. Nepal Temples are usually one of
three types; pagodas, shikaras or stupas. Stupas are exclusively a Buddhist
temple, but pagodas and shikaras may be Hindu or Buddhist. Buddhist temples
are almost always surrounded by a wall with a defined entrance way. A wall
of prayer wheels often surrounds the temple. Whether Hindu or Buddhist,
these temples are not places of religious gatherings popular within
Christianity and Muslim religions but are sites of individual worship.
Pottery flourishes in Patan and Thimi, a locality near Bhaktapur. Common
forms of pottery are terra cotta oil lamps used to light homes during the
festival Dipawali, and flower pots decorated with peacocks and elephants.
Thangkas, a more predominant form of painting, are popular among Buddhists
in Nepal as well as in Tibet and date back to the late 14th century. These
paintings on cotton are rectangular in shape and usually longer than they
are wide. They are framed with three stripes of Chinese brocade of blue,
yellow and red which represent the rainbow which separates sacred objects
from the material world. Older Thangkas consisted of mineral-based colors,
while current Thangkas are produced with vegetable-based or chemical colors.
Frequent themes of Thangkas include images of Buddhist figures, mandala
designs, the wheel of life design, or depiction of scenes or stories.
Bronze figures, sometimes alloyed with copper, appeared in the valley
around 8th century AD. These images usually represented religious deities or
legendary figures. The most frequently used production technique is that of
cire perdue, a form of wax casting. Images often contain embedded
semi-precious stones, usually coral or turquoise, or are gilded with gold.
Galleries and Museums
The Natural History Museum
Located in the western end of Kathmandu and a few minutes walk down from
the famous Swayambhunath Stupa, the National museum has a large collection
of weapons, art and antiquities of historic and cultural importance.
Initially built as a collection house of war trophies and weapons, the
museum has an extra-ordinary collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century
weapons, firearms locally made and captured from the various wars, leather
canons and relics of natural calamities like great earthquake of 1934. In
addition, the museum is the unique treasure house of medieval and modern
works in wood, metal and bronze, stoneworks and the paintings.
The Natural History Museum
Situated at the southern foothills of Swayambhunath, the museum is a window
to the natural history of Nepal. The museum has a sizeable collection of
different species of animals, butterflies and plants. The special feature of
this museum is a serial display of diverse life from prehistoric shells to
the stuffed animals, birds, crocodiles and many other interesting exhibits.
It is open on all the weekdays except Saturdays and government holidays.
Located in the palace complex of Patan Durbar Square, the Patan Museum is a
house to some of the unique medieval works in bronze. The earliest specimens
date back to 11th century or even earlier Lichhavi period. Most of the
exhibits are deities from the Buddhist pantheon like images of Buddhas and
Lokeswore. And in the lesser number, there are icons from Hindu pantheon
like Vishnu and other deities.
Nepal Art Council Gallery
Situated in Babar Mahal- on the way to Tribhuvan International Airport, the
Gallery has an excellent space area for exhibitions. The gallery holds
exhibitions of paintings and sculptures. The gallery is noted for the
display of works of selected artists of the country and abroad.