Nepalese Buddhist Art and its importance

By Min Bahadur Shakya

contents
Introduction  Origin of Buddhist Paintings  History of Nepalese Paintings  Diffusion of Nepalese Buddhist art outside Nepal  Textual Source for Buddhist Arts  Contribution of Nepalese Buddhist artists  Conclusion

Introduction
 Introduction

of Buddhist painting in the life time of the Buddha.  Story of Bimbisara and Udrayana  Story of Wheel of Life according to Divyavadana  Story of Muktalata

Diffusion of Nepalese art outside Nepal
Tibet  China  Ladakh

Contribution of Nepalese artists in Tibet, China and Ladakh
       

1.Prince Bhrikuti in Tibet-7th century 2.Dunhoung Cave in China-9th century 3.Beijing and Wutai shan in 13th century 4.Earliest Paubha paintings at Sakyamonastery13th century 5. 1st Panchen Lama and Maitreya statue-16th century 6.Lama Taranath’s commission in Ngor temple 7.Fifth Dalai Lama in 1659 mentions 8 Nepalese artists: 8.Largest metal image in Ladakh, the gigantic statue of Sakyamuni Buddha in the monastery of shey, was erected in the 17th century by artists from Nepal:

1.Prince Bhrikuti in Tibet-7th century

First Buddha image was brought to Lhasa from Nepal in 634 C.E by Princess Bhrikuti Devi, the wife of King srong bstan Gampo.One of these was was an image of the Jina Aksobhya with a gilded face, in the Ramoche. The statue of an eleven headed Avalokiteshvara in Jokhang was made by a newar artist during his period. The suggestion that Newar architects and builders and all the neccessary craftsmen were sent from Nepal for the work on Jokhang during first half of seventh century is echoed by von schroder’s statement that the elaborately carved panels of a sculpted door beam inside the temple clearly represent Nepalese workmanship.

List of images
Sahasrabhuja Lokeshvara  Bhrikuti  Arya Tara  Marici  Sarasvati  Hayagriva

Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha in Lhasa

Nepalese artist at Dunhoung Caves 775-815C.E.

According to Sir Aurel Stein, Nepalese artist painted a part of a fresco in one of the cave at Dunhoung. If Stein’s judgement is correct, then its date can be assigned to 775-825 C.E.Certainly more research is needed in this case.

Dunhoung Caves

Buddha with his attendant Bodhisattvas

Nepalese at Sakya Monastery
During the period of predominance of the order of the monastery of Sakya, in southern Tibet, teams of Newar artists were invited to work by the abbots of the sa-skya monasteries.  Large images of Nepalese origin in a chapel at the monastery of Sakya are visible in a picture taken by Tucci and reproduced by Von schroeder.

Sakya monastery

Earliest Paubhas of Nepal
Earliest Paubhas at Central Tibet -Sakya monastery
 Ratna

Sambhava Buddha Buddha

Los Angeles County Museum,
 Amitabha

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
 Amoghsiddhi

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Stella Kramrisch Collection

Contd.

Works of Arniko
Golden Pagoda of Sakya monastery  White Pagoda of Beijing  White Pagoda of Wutaishan  Painting of green Tara  Portrait of Emperor Kubilai Khan  Portrait of Empress Chabi

Portrait of Empress Chabi

Emperor Kubilai Khan

Ngor Mandalas

139 Mandalas paintings at Ngor Monastery by Nepalese artists

Ngor Monastery

Ngor Mandala of Jnana dakini

Vajravarahi Mandala

Taranatha commissions seven Buddhas

Taranatha also commissioned seven Newar artists to make many haloes to be placed around the heads of some statues. Again twenty Newar sculptors made the image of the seven Buddhas of the past aeons for the entrance –hall to the Ngor temple.

Gedun rGyatsho-2nd Dalai Lama
Newar sculptors erected two well known statues in the monastery of Tashilhunpo founded in 1445 near Shigatse a twenty five cubit statue of the Maitreya Buddha  And another is goddess White Tara  1st panchen Lama 1567-1662, witnessed the casting of an image of Maitreya by Newar sculptors in 1604.

Maitreya at Tashilhunpo Monastery

Fifth Dalai Lama and Nepalese Artists
Newar sculptors continued to operate in Tibet, and the names of eight of them are recorded in the autobiopgraphy of the 5th Dalai Lama under the year 1659.They are 2. Dshyo-ban 3. Siddhi 4. Mangal 5. Dharmadeva 6. Jayasingh 7. Amarajati 8. Dselakhrang 9. Khra-papsu-tsa and they also made a portrait of him.

Near Shey Gompa in Ladakh

Textual source on Buddhist Arts
BuddhapratimalakSana Sutra  Citralaksana  Atreyatilaka or Pratimalaksana shastra  Dasatalanyagraodhaparimandala Pratimalaksanavivarana  Citrakarmashastra by Manjusri-edited by Marasinghe  Devasthapanaya by Tissakariyavasam

Conclusion
The purpose of this presentation is to important contribution made by Nepalese artists through millennium.  If Nepalese artists are aware of our past heritage, then we should keep it their legacy with sincerity.  I appeal to all of our artists here present to work and study diligently how our past eminent artists contributed for the enhancement of our Nepalese heritage.We should study their biographies, methods of work they created and so forth  Thank you