Inclination of a civilization toward art and architecture represent the civilization’s aesthetic expression of creativity. In this regard, Nepal’s ancient remnants of arts and architectural heritages give reflections of Nepalese fond for creative arts and architectures which are the characteristics of lived society and culture.
Nepalese arts and architectures available at different cultural, historic, and social sites represent Nepal’s proximity to aesthetic expression. Along with arts and architectures found rural locations of Nepal, Kathmandu Valley stands a complete art and architectural legacy of ancient Nepal’s inclination towards aesthetics. Numerous monuments in Kathmandu Valley have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Further, Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama the Buddha, is the only World Heritage Site outside the Valley in Southern Nepal.
Like architecture, most artwork of Nepal is based on theological aspects of prevalent religions in Nepal. Art and architectures of Nepal further depict Nepal’s cultural and social diversity. The aesthetic creative art and architectures whether those are artwork of Bhojpuri paintings or Maithili music all reflect diversity of Nepal cultural milieu. Likewise, artworks range from the famous Buddhist Thanka and Newari Paubha paintings to the traditional crafts of woodwork and metal. Other art include literature, theater, music and dance, mirroring the different stages of Nepali society.
Early art of Nepal can be seen as stone sculpture and temple architecture. Other art include wood and metal crafts, ceramics and clay pots, textiles, paper, Tibetan carpet, music and literature. Contemporary Nepali art represents two distinct segments, traditional idealistic paintings and the contemporary western style works. The contemporary painting is specially noted for either nature based compositions or compositions based on Tantric elements or social themes.
Kathmandu Valley itself is a museum of number of museums and art galleries showcasing art work of the past and present. Kathmandu Durbar Square Museum, Museum of Natural History at Swayambhu, National Library at Puchowk, Kaiser Library at Thamel, National Birendra Art Gallery at Naxal, Asa Archives at Tangal, National Art Gallery at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, National Woodworking Museum at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Bronze and Brass Museum at Bhaktapur, Nepal National Ehnographic Museum at Bhrikuti Mandap are the sites where a visitor can view contemporary historical diversity of Nepalese arts.
Museums outside the Kathmandu Valley such as Dhakuta Museum, Hattisar Museum in Bhimphedi, Mustang Eco Museum in Jomsom, Tharu Cultural Museum in Thakurdwara and International Mountain Museum in Pokhara reflect historical art portrayal of Nepalese arts. Beyond art reflection at different art galleries and museums, the various temples, stupas and traditional building represent architectural artistic presentation throughout Nepal including Kathmandu Valley.
In brief, Nepal’s architectural monuments and artistic expressions found throughout the country showcase the passion of Nepalese aesthetic perfection.