Why does Nepal rank high in top destinations to visit to explore art and architecture?
The ancient architecture of Nepal, like the Nepali art of painting and sculpture, is considered to be exceptional. Nepalese architecture is also regarded as one of the country’s most significant cultural heritage.
Three types of ancient architecture may be identified in Nepal. Ancient architecture is awe-inspiring in its mastery of workmanship and chiseling techniques. The heritage and architectural structures provide witness to the efforts made throughout medieval times.
Nepali art, architecture, and the Nepali language have become an essential aspect of the country’s cultural legacy.
Art and architecture in Nepal are very important since they reflect the ancient history and Nepali people’s distinct lifestyles. The arts and architecture speak to the cultural and traditional identities of races and groups of Nepali people.
Nepal has always been admired for its beautiful artifacts, culture, religions, ethnic groups, chariot festivals, and way of life. Nepalese culture is sometimes associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. The Indian Subcontinent and Tibetan Plateau have had a significant impact on Nepalese culture.
In this blog of the Ling app, we will explore the beautiful Nepali art.
Nepali Art And Culture
Manuscript drawings or manuscript illustrations on palm leaves are the oldest representations of Nepalese art in the form of devotional paintings. This practice dates back many centuries, with the Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita of 1015 AD is the first known illustrated text.
The wooden covers to preserve the manuscript’s hand-painted leaves are often more ornately designed than the book itself. Many specimens of this work have survived and are in good condition.
The religious impact on such Nepali art can be seen in that such texts are solely embellished with figures of divinities. Regardless of whether they are Hindu or Buddhist in origin, all texts are illustrated with Nepalese paintings of gods and goddesses.
Often, monks, priests, monasteries, and temples would copy manuscripts and distribute them to other monks, priests, monasteries, and temples.
As a result, the painting style remained relatively consistent, and the painting quality was preserved for a long time. These older paintings are very valuable.
The Thangka Nepalese Paintings
The Thangka is another kind of Nepalese painting that has been in Nepal since ancient times. These paintings were primarily religious, and they were employed as worship symbols. They originated in Nepal and are known as Paubha in Newari and Thangka in Tibetan.
There was a high demand, at one point, for lit wall paintings or holy metal sculptures, which produced an ‘industry’ of trained Newari artists who satisfied the need by beginning to paint such symbols on fabric. This artwork could be rolled up and easily carried.
In the ninth century, these Thangka Nepalese art paintings were well-received and eventually found their way into households and monasteries. They are hugely popular today. The ‘Mandala of Vishnu,’ which dates from 1420 AD, is an excellent example of a Thangka painting.
Early Thangka paintings had a basic design with a major god in the center surrounded by more miniature figures of lower prominence.
Artists began to utilize more vibrant colors in Nepalese painting, and there was a trend of depicting Shiva and Shakti in different traditional positions. Because of Tantrism’s mysterious character, a heavy focus on the feminine aspect and sexuality was placed in this form of Nepali art.
The Thangkas were supposed to have magical properties, and a wide range of symbols was used in the artwork.
Nepali Art Sculptures
The sculpture has a long and rich history in Nepal, and numerous carved items have been discovered in the Terai area.
Early sculptures were all religious, and the artists themselves seemed to be devout to their gods. While early sculptures were relatively modest, those from the Lichchhavi era were breathtaking.
These sculptures featured round faces with slanted eyes and were fashioned of stone, copper, and bronze. While the deity is presented in a basic manner, there is a great deal of attention to detail. Clothing and accessories were kept to a minimum, and the subject often wore simply a Dhoti or Sanghatis.
The Lichchhavi era (5-8 CE) was Nepalese sculpture’s Golden Age, with numerous superbly unearthed and preserved pieces. While not necessarily attractive, woodcarving had a decorative function in ancient Nepal and is therefore considered an art form.
Hand-carved windows, doors, temples, roof supports, and countless Nepal art antiques may still be found in the Katmandu valley. Because wood does not survive as long as stone, specimens of Nepalese sculpture do not date back farther than the 14th century.
Wood carving remains an essential tradition of Nepalese architecture. The first significant transfer of native art to foreign civilizations happened in the 7th century AD when King Angshuvarma brought Mahayana Buddhism to Tibet.
Many monasteries were established, all of which required to be filled with books and sculptures. Tibet now houses some of the most magnificent specimens of the Nepalese art. The pioneer and architect Balbahu or ‘Arniko,’ whose various designs may still be found today, provided the most excellent contribution.
Buddhist principles inspired a Nepalese architectural style, which is utilized to build Buddhist shrines. The architecture of stupas is very identifiable. A square base supports the earliest example of a hemispheric construction. Thirteen rings are placed on top of each other and gradually narrow to a point above the robust foundation. A parasol completes the look. On each exposed side of the square bases, also known as Harmika, are painted pairs of “all-seeing” eyes.
The stupa style is exemplified in Nepali art by the Swayambhu Shrine and the Baudhanath Shrines, both designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of the earliest stupas in Nepalese art, commissioned by King Ashoka, can be seen at Patan.
Shikhar architecture is also a beautiful example of traditional architecture. It stands tall and resembles a pyramid. The exterior component of such constructions has five to nine perpendicular divisions or sections. At the top of each segment is Gajurs. They are wider in the bottom half and narrower in the upper half.
Patan’s Krishna Mandir and Mahaboudha are also good examples. Siddhinarsingh Malla, the Malla ruler, constructed Krishna Mandir. In Nepal, structures and religious shrines are created in the Gumba, Mugal, and other styles. The Janaki Mandir in Janakpur is an example of this. The Terai, in particular, has some beautiful Gumba Style buildings.
The Malla period palace of Bhaktapur, the Rana era palace of Singha Durbar, Kesar Mahal, Thapathali Durbar, Sri Mahal, Rani Mahal, and other magnificent examples of Nepalese architecture is well worth seeing. In these palaces, we can observe some European-style architecture.
Pagoda Style – Rubin Museum
The intriguing historical structures and one-of-a-kind Nepali art architectural designs fascinate visitors. Bhaktapur is particularly famous since it offers visitors the opportunity to see various amazing examples of Nepali art and architecture. The architecture of Nepal has been categorized into three non-specific architectural categories, including Pagoda style, stupa style, and shikhara style.
Carved wood struts support several tiered roofs with large eaves in this Nepali architectural style. The top of the structure is usually adorned with triangular spires enclosing a polished gold upside-down bell. The construction of the windows of Nepal Temple-Architecture protrudes and is frequently latticed.
The pagoda style in the Kathmandu Valley is one of the earliest examples of superb architectural design.
China, interestingly, eventually adopted the Nepali art style, which spread Nepalese artwork across Asia. The Rubin Museum’s premiere collection of Nepali art depicts the continuing embodiment of ritual illustrations, agricultural celebrations, and the natural environment in the art of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley.
An Edifice commissioned by King Prithvi Narayan Shah is another remarkable example of this fascinating Nepalese architectural style. Make your way to the Pashupati, Changu Narayan, and Taleju temples as well.
Nepal’s Modern Architectural Development
Nepal’s current architecture is a stunning example of old architecture. During the Kirats and Licchavis, Nepalese architecture transformed. During the Malla era, traditional Nepalese architecture took on a new shape, with significant modifications and fresh insights.
The Malla rulers rebuilt and altered old architectural styles, and the Malla era is notable for its contemporary architectural revolutions. Articrafts from the Malla era are still popular and may be found in various Nepalese locations.
Nepali architecture began to take on a more contemporary appearance during the Rana dynasty. During the rule of the Ranas in Nepal, the neoclassical style was introduced.
Garden of Dreams, located in downtown Thamel, is an excellent example of neoclassical architecture. During the Rana and Shah regimes, the western style was prevalent, influenced by Greek and Roman architecture. The current Durbars and Royal palaces of Nepal show the influence of Greek and Roman architectural styles.
Making architectural improvements throughout the reigns of the Rana and Shah Emperors is Nepal’s first move toward modern architecture.
This multi-faceted legacy reflects Nepal’s ethnic, tribal, and socioeconomic diversity in music and dance, art and craft, folklore and folktales, languages and literature, philosophy and religion, festivals, transport and celebrations, cuisines, and beverages.
Learn More About Nepali Art, Nepalese People, And the Language With The Ling App
If you also plan to visit Nepal soon, we suggest learning some basic Nepali language. For instance, read our blogs on important vocab and sentences about transport and greetings in Nepali.
For that, you can get help with the Ling app that provides instant solutions. These applications allow you to practice your grammar while also providing a fun method to discover new words.
Ling App by Simya Solutions is an ideal learning platform, and many users say they use it whenever they have spare time rather than scheduled sessions. Using apps is a more formal approach to learning the Nepali language.