Subject: Social Studies
Art is the expression of creative mind. It not only reflects the creativity of the artist but also environment and situations where the artist lives. So it has a reflection of the overall lifestyle of the contemporary society. Nepalese art is renowned for its simplicity, originality, and specialty. Its theme has basically been religious, particularly Hindu and Buddhist. Nepali artifacts depict the characters and events of scriptures, Vedas, Puranas etc. Nepali artists have always become creative individuals and, more or less, Theologists/devotees. Their art has been directed more by spiritual elements rather than the realistic ones. The world is depicted as viewed by the artist's spiritual eyes. Essentially they have used locally available raw materials like wood, stone, metals, clay, colors etc. Nepali art and culture have influenced lifestyle of neighbors too. Our art is our identity and it must be preserved and promoted.
Nepal has remained a land of ancient civilization. Its art and culture have come a long way. But our early artifacts have not been preserved. Very little is known about the art and culture of the pre-Lichhavi period. Our art could be preserved only with the rise of Lichhavi King Mandeva, the first historical king of the country, who started keeping recorded history. The following are the major sources of information about art and culture. They are equally important sources of history as well.
The art of painting is the art or work of using paint on surfaces. Nepali art of painting is highly based on religion. It is supposed to have begun during the Lichhavi period. It was followed by sculptures. We have I Nepal three main categories of paintings- book painting, scroll painting, and wall painting.
The oldest book painting of Nepal has been found in religious books. Originally they were made on a copper plate, palm leaf, wood, etc. A 900-year old copper in the wooden surface is the oldest painting of Nepal. The painting consists of the picture of Pancha Buddha and 5 stars on one side and the pictures of Prajnaparamita, Bajrasawta and other goddesses on the other side.
Scroll paintings are drawn on paper or clothes. A scroll painting is called thangka in Nepal, pauwa or pauva in Tibet and thangka in Europe and west. The oldest scroll paintings found in Nepal date back to 11th century. Scroll painting drawn virtually on clothes can be folded, carried and stored. These paintings are further divided into two kinds- Mandala and Pata.
Available wall paintings of Nepal donate date back to the pre-Lichchhavi period. Every wall painting could not be protected for various reasons. Frequent renovation and repair works on temples, monasteries and palaces certainly led to the loss of the original paintings of them. Like other paintings, wall paintings have religious themes. King Jitamitra Malla and Bhupitindra Malla kept many walls painting in their decorative chowks. King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kantipur did the same. Huge wall painting is still found in Pashupati and Jaya Bageshwari. Stories of Ramayan, Mahabharat, Jatak, etc are commonly portrayed. Mithila painting is one of the most refined forms of wall painting.
Pata painting is about 4-5 metres long. In a pata painting the picture of a god is at its centre with other deities on all sides but in a Mandala there is a sign of something, like a 'swastika' and others and the deities surround it.
Mithila painting is different from common wall painting because it consists the picture of gods and goddesses along with worldly creatures but the other common wall paintings conveyed stories of Mahabharat, Ramayan etc.
The development of Nepalese painting starts from religion. Lichchavi dynasty can be considered as the pioneer of Nepalese painting. Pragya paramita, a copper letter is the oldest repainting, which is believed to be of 10th and 11th century. Its development was in climax in 14th and 15th century. As its history, it is older than sculpture.
The oldest book painting in the ancient time was painted in copper or paper. Pragya Paramita is the oldest book painting till the date. But these days, it is painted in paper.
The painting on the wall of the house, temples, gumbas, etc. is called wall painting. Such paintings are painted to avoid the effect of ghost and any bad evils. The paintings of gods and goddesses have been the tradition of the Nepalese people.
The masterpiece model of painting is Mithila painting. It is common in central Terai. It is also called Madhuwani painting. It is believed that it was started from Madhuwani of India. Now, it has been common in Mithila zone.
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