A Living Art Show
The valley of Kathmandu is one of the most concentrated repositories of art and design that exist in the world; it is one of the greatest living art shows imaginable. Nepal has long been famous for quality work. In the past, beautiful bronzes were made, not only for the home market, but for export or sale to pilgrim tourists. Today, exquisite bronze images of the gods and goddesses of the Hindu and Buddhist pantheons are still fashioned and sold. Early Chinese travellers marvelled at Nepalese architecture with its richly decorated temples, palaces and houses; the Nepalese wood-carver has always excelled in ornately carved windows and roof supports, fashioned in the elegant forms of deities. It is known that the Nepalese architect, Arniko, took the pagoda style of architecture to neighbouring Tibet and from thence to China in the ninth century. The bronze-casters, scroll painters and silversmiths of the Kathmandu valley were responsible for taking their art to Tibet, and until a couple of decades ago, many Nepali artists were working in Tibet supplying art works for the local market. The arts of Nepal, with the exception of stone carving, are still very much alive, and in the cities of the valley, master craftsmen, artisans and artists are still fashioning masterpieces, following traditions and using techniques that in many cases stretch back well over a thousand years. Large areas of the city of Patan are given over to the production of art works, and for the adventurous visitor with an interest in arts and crafts, there is always an excellent opportunity to see artists and craftsmen at work in their houses. The advent of tourism in the late fifties acted as a stimulus to Nepalese arts and crafts, as it brought with it not only a demand for small souvenir. but also for high quality items produced by labour intensive methods that could not be copied by machines anywhere in the world. A fine scroll painting, wood-carving or brass image...
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