Sculpture & Decorative Arts

Nepalese sculpture is mostly religious in nature. Many carved artifacts have been found in the Terai region of Nepal, which provide an insight into the Nepali culture and religion from its early beginnings right up to the modern times. Nepali sculpture flourished during the Lichchhavi period (5th-8thcentury) ; and stone, copper and bronze images from this period depict round faces with slanted eyes. Minimalism use of clothes and ornaments can be found, like many Hindu deities are shown wearing only a dhoti(skirt-like lower garment). Buddhist deities were carved to show them wearing longsanghatis (a long saffron-coloured robes that the Buddhists wear hanging from the shoulders) and idols during this period were so beautifully executed that it is not possible to find one specimen with a chiseled mark. Some of the best examples of sculpture during the Lichchhavi period are the images of Sleeping Vishnu in Budhanilkantha, and the Vishnu Vikrant or Dwarf Incarnation found near Lazimpat in Kathmandu. Remarkable sculptures from Lichchhavi period at Changu Narayan. The sculpture arts of 6th-14th and from the early Malla period (11th-14th century) also comprise important art treasures of Nepal.

Woodcarving found in intricate and beautiful windows, doors, temple roof-struts and other artifacts in Kathmandu Valley is an art form which is an integral part of Nepali architecture. As wood is vulnerable to the ravages of time and other art forms, well-preserved specimen only date back to the 14th century and the beginning of the Malla period. Some of the best examples of this are: the old royal palaces of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur and a number of different Viharas (monasteries) around the valley.


Sharma, Rashmi. Nepal and SAARC. New Delhi: Regal Publications, 2007.

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