Arts and Architecture in Nepal

Nepal Art. - The art and culture of Nepal has been strongly influenced by the religious beliefs of the country. The artwork is decorative, delicate and very beautiful. Nepal art is strongly influenced by the culture of the people and the two really go together and are interwoven. The two most typical forms of art are that of paintings and sculptures. Nepal art and culture has changed little over the centuries though western influences are slowly starting to affect some modern artists.

 

Nepalese Architecture - The magnificent architecture of Nepal is a form of art which truly captures the culture and essence of Nepal. Traditional Nepalese architecture attracts both tourists and scholars to this amazing country. The fascinating historical buildings and unique Nepalese architectural designs inspire much awe. Particularly popular is Bhaktapur where tourists can explore numerous outstanding Nepalese architectural structures. Certain people have divided Nepal's architecture into three non-specific stylistic groups, namely pagoda style, stupa style and shikhara style.

 

The Pagoda Style - This style refers to multi-roofed structures with wide eaves supported by carved wooden struts. Windows, either latticed or grilled, are usually projecting, while the roof is generally topped off by triangular spires enclosing an inverted bell of stucco or burnished gold. The pagoda style shows the finest specimens of the architectural genius of Nepal. The style was later adopted in China and from there spread to other Asian countries. For this, the tribute goes to a young architect-sculptor-painter named Balbahu, (or Ar-ni-ko as the Chinese call him), who led a delegation of eighty Nepalese artists to Tibet during the late 13th century at the invitation of the Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan. The best example of the pagoda style in the Katmandu Valley is Kasthamandap a wooden pagoda built in the Malla period; this is also the structure from which the capital city is derived. The nine-storied Basantpur Palace built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah is another outstanding pagoda specimen. The Pashupati, Taleju and Changu Narayan temples are also notable examples.

 

The Stupa Style - The Swayambhu and Baudhanath Shrines are Nepal's first examples of stupa or Chaitya style. This style is purely Buddhist in concept and execution. The outstanding feature of stupas is a hemispherical mound topped by a square base supporting a seried of thirteen circular rings. Narrowing towards the top these are crowned by parasol. The four sides of the square base or the harmika, as it is called, are painted with pairs of mystic "all-seeing eyes." The stupas in Patan, said to have been built by King Ashoka, are considered to be the most ancient stupas of Nepal.

 

The Shikhara style - The Shikhara style forms yet another architectural design found in Nepal. The super-structure of this style is a tall curvilinear or pyramidal tower whose surface is broken up vertically into five or nine sections. The final section consists of a bell-shaped part at the top. The Krishna temple in Patan, consecrated by Kind Siddhi Narasingh Malla is the finest specimen of the relatively less popular Shikhara style.

 

 

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