Nepalese Sculpting : A Unique Blend of Cultures

Nepalese Sculpting : A Unique Blend of Cultures

The community of Newar, one of the primary ethnic groups of Nepal are the painters and sculptors behind the Nepalese style of artwork. The strong influence of both Hinduism as well as Buddhism is evident in Nepalese culture and sculptures.

A vast majority of sculptures can be noted to be made out of bronze, copper or any other alloy. Their metal sculptures have a high copper content and are either richly gilded or have a somewhat reddish patina where the gold has worn off. Semi-precious stones are inlaid into several of them, particularly the later ones, to embellish the deities.

Their art and sculpting traditions can be identified with inspirations from Tibet and mainland India. Since both China and Tibet imported artwork and artisans from Nepal to adorn their temples and monasteries.

Nepalese style occasionally had a significant impact on the art of those two nations. This has helped to create a unique style of craft in Nepalese sculptures. Although most of the Newari painters were Buddhists, neither a Hindu nor a Buddhist style can be distinguished in these sculptures, which were mostly made for religious purposes.

The style of Nepalese sculpture was originally developed from Gupta Indian art and eventually absorbed elements of Pala Indian art. However, Nepalese painters developed a unique aesthetic that is recognisable even in their early sculptures such as the 'Standing Vajrapani', made from copper alloy dating back to 6th century.

Later, Nepalese painters created deities with a unique physiognomy, including broader features and long eyes as opposed to eastern Indian models.

The Nepalese sculptural history is evident from the frequent use of ornamental designs, with wider faces, exaggerated poses, and a variety of distinctive jewelry designs.

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