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Images of Nepal

Krishna Deva (Author)

The image are made of stone, bronze or brass, wood and terracotta and largely come from the numerous Brahmanical temples, Buddhist shrines and monasteries which dot the valley. Particular interesting are the figures on the wooden status, which reveal an amazing variety of Lokesvara types and figures of different deties including the nakshatras (constellation ) on the Budhhist shrines and monasteries and deities of the Hindu pantheon with a predominance of the figures of Bhairavas and Chandis on the Brahmanical temples.

Among the rare iconographic types may be mentioned Siva as Ekapada-Trimurti, Chandra (the moon-god) riding a chariot of geese, Mahisha-sambara and Vishnu in the ardha-nari (androgynous) from. Four-armed and eight-armed image of the last deity are found in large numbers throughout the valley together with the more familiar type of the Vishnu icon.

From the eleventh century onwards, hundreds of Buddhist deities were conceived and fashioned under the influence to Tantrayana and Vajrayana sects which gained special popularity in Nepal. Many of these reveal a marked impact of Tantric Saivism which flourished in the Valley simultaneously. The interfusion between Buddhism and Brahmanism led to complex iconographical forms revealing Buddhist deties with Brahmanical features and Brahmanical deties with Buddhist traits, the latter exemplified by a number of Saiva and Vaishnava deities holding among other weapons vajra and vajra-ghanta, which are usually associated with the Vajrayana deities. The iconographical synthesis between Buddhism and Brahmanism is graphically illustrated by some Tantric figures of Mahakala in the Sundari Chowk, Patan, depicting on their pedestal a frieze showing a combined pattern of the Stupa alternating with the Siva-linga.

In the following pages an attempt has been made to classify the rich iconographical wealth of the Nepal valley and present a summary of the results of the iconographical survey which was undertaken as a project of the Indian Cooperation Mission in Nepal with the active help and cooperation of the Department of Archaeology and Culture of His Majesty's Government, Nepal.

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About the author

Krishna Deva

Krishna Deva (1914-2001) after retirement as Director, Archaeological Survey of India was instrumental in bringing out several inventory volumes about sites and monument of India. He was the most eminent scholar of Indian art, achitectecture and archaeology. He conducted iconnograhphicaL and sculptural survey of the image in Nepal.He was Archaeological Advisor to his Majesty's Govt. in Nepal, Director Birla Academy of Art and Cultures, and for 12 years, as consultant to American Institute of Indian Studies, Varanasi for their project on Encyclopaedia of India Temple Achitecture. He was Editor of Journal of Indian Society of Oriental Art. His pioneering contribution in the Temples of India. He also wrote books on Images in Nepal. Report on vaishali Excavations and Temples of Khajuraho.

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Bibliographic information

Title Images of Nepal
Author Krishna Deva
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.1984
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
length 93p., B/W Illustrations 138; 11.0 inch x 9.0 inch