Stone Carving

From the 7th century CE onward, the earliest records of the Kathmandu Valley recorded by outside visitors (from China) make observations about the fine architecture of the inhabitants, especially the ornate wooden windows, doors, cupola, and ornaments found in the main cities. At the end of the Malla period, a vivid and enthusiastic account was noted by a visiting Catholic missionary:

“If Europeans should ever go to Nepal, they might take some models from these little temples…On the outside of some of these temples there are also great square pillars of single stones, from twenty to thirty feel high, upon which they place their idols… [In Bungamati] I obtained the sight of the temple, and then passed the great courtit is almost entirely marble almost blue, to form the pavement of the great courtyard, the magnificence of which astonished me; and I do not believe there is another equal to it in Europe.” Giuseppe de Rovato in 1768

(“Account of the Kingdom of Nepal,” Asiatic Researches 2, 1799)

A distinctive characteristic of Newar culture today is the continuity of archaic artistic traditions. Although artisans have adopted some labor saving and modern technologies … [sandpaper, power tools, photos of model forms, etc.], the basic practices of meticulous hand-crafting and apprenticeship endure, with the masters still doing the central, most intricate, and exquisite images.


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