Sunday, 26 April 2015

Views of Nepal - Henry Ambrose Oldfield

The English watercolourist Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871) immortalised scenes from traditional Nepal, mainly in the 1850s. Oldfield was a medical doctor and traveller. He served as a medical surgeon in Bengal. His wonderful watercolour renderings of scenes from Nepal were collected and published after his death in a work entitled: Sketches from Nipal, historical and descriptive ... To which is added an essay on Nipalese Buddhism, and illustrations of religious monuments, architecture and scenery, etc [Edited by E O] 2 volumes (W H Allen & Co, London, 1880). The following plates are from that work. Select a picture to see an enlarged view. 


Thappatalli, the Residence of Maharaja Jang Bahadur at Kathmandu in Nepal - 1852






Nyatapola Temple at Bhaktapur




The Durbar, or Royal Palace, at Lalitpur (Patan) in Nepal - 1855








Concerning this painting Oldfield wrote:

"The Pashupatinath temple, seen in this view, is dedicated to Shiva and is situated beside the Bagmati river. There has been a Shiva temple on this spot since before the 9th century and the present temple was built by King Bhupalendra Malla in 1653. The square two-tiered building stands on a single-tiered plinth in an open courtyard. The temple has silver-plated and gilt doors with niches on both sides containing images of gold painted guardian deities."



Interior courtyard of monastery at Lalitpur (Patan) in Nepal - 1854





Inscribed by Oldfield as: "No. 4. Temple of Mahadeo, built A.D. 1650; with a corner of a Temple of Hurreeshunkur, built A.D. 1650. Bhatgaon."



The Kot in Katmandu. Festival of Durga puja. (Dussehra)



"Hindu temple at Lalitpur - Mahadeo or Shiva"



About this picture, Oldfield wrote:

"The Jal Binayak temple is dedicated to Ganesha, the God of Wisdom, who is venerated by Buddhists as well as Hindus. Ganesha's help is often called upon at the commencement of all important religious or domestic undertakings and his image is usually placed close to the entrance to a temple. This temple dates from 1602, but there is evidence to suggest that there was an earlier temple on the same spot. Ganesha is usually represented by an elephant's head, yet here he is represented by a large rock, as can be seen in the centre of this drawing."



Yours,

Harper McAlpine Black




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