Museums in Bhaktapur

Museums in Bhaktapur

Museums in Bhaktapur

National Art gallery

The National Art Gallery, which is housed in a section of the Bhaktapur Palace, was founded in 1960 by the Government of Nepal's Department of Archaeology. The museum was established to preserve and exhibit Nepali traditional paintings. The collection is not large, but it contains priceless Paubhas (Nepali religious scroll paintings) and manuscripts dating back centuries, as well as centuries-old sculptures.

Stone Art Section

The Stone Art section of the gallery is located on the ground floor, next to the Gallery's main entrance. Some stone inscriptions date back to 1468 A.D., during the reigns of Lichhavi King Shiva Deva and King Yaksha Malla. There are some magnificent stone sculptures. The stone sculptures on display are mostly from the Bhaktapur area and represent Nepal's early medieval to medieval stone art. It is worth noting the four-faced Shivalinga, Harihar, Surya, Chandrama, Vishnu, Tara, Ardhanariswar, and some architectural fragments. The stone idol of Harishanker, recovered from the temple destroyed by the 1934 earthquake, is an intriguing piece of sculpture. This idol is a hybrid of Shiva and Vishnu and thus holds symbols of both the gods.

Painting Section

The first floor is devoted to paintings in the form of Paubhas as well as manuscripts.  Vasundhara Mandala, Ganesh with Shakti, Mahisa Sambhara, Vajra Yogini, and Shiva Viswarupa are among the most important. In the main exhibition hall, there are five showcases in the middle of the room that contain some extremely valuable ancient, illustrated manuscripts and covers. One of them depicts King Pratap Malla's pilgrimage tour. Other notable artifacts include 11th century Vishnu Dasavatara manuscripts and a 13th century manuscript cover of Shiva Dharma Purana. In this section, there is a rectangular room that resembles a corridor, with rows of paintings depicting Shiva Viswarupa, who is multi-armed and multi-headed, on the northern wall painting facing south. The long corridors feature watercolors of the aquatic world, mythical dragons, various birds, bulls, and other animals. They are the best examples of Nepalese medieval folk art.

The old Pujari Math has been converted into a Woodcarving Museum and is located at Dattatreya Square, a ten-minute walk from the Durbar Square. The Pujari Math is one of the Kathmandu Valley's oldest maths (priestly residences). The courtyards of the museum are adorned with exquisitely carved windows and pillars. The Mara Vijaya, Pooja Devi, Viswaroop, and Aryatara are magnificent examples of past centuries' woodcarving. A German project restored the museum a few years ago and captioned the majority of the artifacts.

The Woodcarving Museum, Dattatreya Square

The old Pujari Math has been converted into a Woodcarving Museum and is located at the Dattatreya Square about a ten minute walk from the Durbar Square. The Pujari Math is considered one of the oldest maths (dwelling of a priest) in the Kathmandu Valley. The museum has courtyards decorated with exquisitely carved windows and pillars. The Mara Vijaya, Pooja Devi, Viswaroop and Aryatara are magnificent specimens of woodcarving of the past centuries. The museum was restored some years ago by a German project which has captioned most of the artifacts.

The Brass & Bronze Museum

The metalwork section known as the Brass & Bronze Museum is housed opposite the Woodcarving Museum. This section showcases brass and bronze metal ware that were extensively used by nobility and their Newar subjects in the previous century and early 20th century. Objects used for religious purposes such as kalash and incense stands are noteworthy. Of much interest are the spittoons used by kings and other noblemen. Religious and ritual objects of the Newar community make up the bulk of the exhibition here.

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