Stone Sculptures is another amazing things to explore in Nepal. Nepali art of the different periods reflects various aspects of the society in the different stages of its development. Originality in the form and the content on a whole shows the development of a civilization with its unique qualities. In the following lines attempts are made to take account of salient features of Nepali strong sculpture, bronze art, wood art and paintings of different ages.
Religion has played an important role for development of art of the old age, middle age and even some aspects of the modern age and even some aspects of the modern art cannot be seen in isolation from the religion. In fact religious fervor has inspired the artistic creation. Some aspects of Nepali art manifested in the making of things of religious importance are described in the chapter devoted to pilgrimage. So, some points are not brought under discussion in order to avoid repetition.
Stone sculptures in Nepal are believed to have emerged long before the birth of christ. There is a common belief that stone image of virupakshya, and a series of images entitled ‘Parvati Tapasya’ belong to the Kirat period. However, such conclusions are made only on the basis of the physical and formal features of the images since no inscriptions explaining the dates are found so far.
From the Lichhavi period onwards stone images with dates and other descriptions are found. The images of padmapani buddha, vishnu Vikrant, Vishworup, Uma Maheshrow, Bhagavatis, shiva linga and a number of other images were built in the period. Furthermore, the images of the period can be found at hanumandhoka, changu narayansthan, dhumbarahi, shovabhagvati, naxal bahgavati, and pashupati. The stone images of the period have certain distinctive features that distinguish them from the images of the earlier period.
The images supposedly belonging to the Kirat period have round faces, curly hair, well developed dore heard, robust body and short stature whereas the stone images of Licahhavi period have long oval, faces, aryan nose, thin dresses, ornaments and crowns on heads. In addition, they have intricately donned hair. The most striking thing about them is that they have picturesque vividness and they are lively. The material used for making images is also good. Mostly, hard blue or black stone is used.
Nepali stone sculpture entered another important phase of its development in the Thankuri and Malla period. Some of the famous images built in this period are: Nirisimha’s image at hanumandhoka, the images of Radha-Bhiravi and Surya of Uma maheshwor, Nirsimha, BHairav-Bhairavi and surya of Bhaktapur etc. various characteristic features distinguish team from the works of the Lichhavi period. The distinctive features are:
- Relatively inferior material such as soft sand stone is used to make the images.
- The vividness and fluency of the Lichhavi period and lack in this period because many artists of the period were using metal as a material.
- Various parts of the body of the images are not proportionately worked out.
- Secular images were also made in the period and
- The facial structure of the images is the mixture of aryan and Mongolian structure.
Furthermore, the images are decorated more and are adorned with a halo. In spite of those conspicuous characteristics there are certain expectations too, some out of trend images where undoubtedly made in period.
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