Newar architecture . The typology of the Malla period monuments of the Kathmandu Valley

  • Barbara Gmińska-Nowak (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Nepal is a country with an old culture steeped in deeply ingrained tradition. Political, trade and dynastic relations with both neighbours – India and Tibet, have been intense for hundreds of years. The most important of the smaller states existing in the current territorial borders of Nepal is that of the Kathmandu Valley. This valley has been one of the most important points on the main trade route between India and Tibet. Until thelate 18th century, the wealth of the Kathmandu Valley reflected in the golden roofs of numerous temples and the monastic structures adorned by artistic bronze and stone sculptures, woodcarving and paintings was mainly gained from commerce. Being the point of intersection of significant trans-Himalaya trade routes, the Kathmandu Valley was a centre for cultural exchange and a place often frequented by Hindu and Buddhist teachers, scientists, poets, architects and sculptors. The Kathmandu Valley with its main cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur is situated in the northeast of Nepal at an average height of 1350 metres above sea level. Today it is still the administrative, cultural and historical centre of Nepal. South of the valley lies a mountain range of moderate height whereas the lofty peaks of the Himalayas are visible in the North.

The main group of inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley are the Newars, an ancient and high organised ethnic group very conscious of its identity. The Newars are well known for their artistic skills. Almost everything that is commonly called Nepalese art – architecture, sculpture, painting, arts and crafts, and music – is in fact Newar art. [...]