Nepal has possibly the largest collection of chronicles in South Asia. These vamsavalis became popular after the Saba 1 dynasty conquered the Kathmandu Valley in 1768/69 and can be regarded as part of the nation building process promoting Nepali as the lingua franca. However, only two longer chronicles have so far been translated into English and thus remained, in a way, the major sources of Nepalese history and legends: The so- called Padmagiri Chronicle included in Bikram Jit Hasrat's History of Nepal (1970), and especially the History of Nepal, translated and edited by Daniel Wright, a physician who served at the British Residency in Kathmandu from 1866 to 1876. This chronicle, whose appropriate name could be Nepalika-Bhupa-Vamsavali (NBh V), "Genealogy of the Kings of Nepal", as its opening stanzas suggest, was composed most probably by a Newar Buddhist pundit in Patan in the 1830s.
The translation into English by Daniel Wright with the help of "Munshi Shew Shunker Singh and Pandit Sri Gunanand" was published in 1877 by Cambridge University Press. It has been reprinted no less than 10 times by different publishers. Be- ing the most readily available translation of the vamsavalis, Wright's book has been used exten- sively by scholars around the world. It also hap- pens to be the earliest Buddhist vamsiivali of the 19th century.
Using newly discovered manuscripts, we here- with present the editio princeps and a new translation of this text, and, in a separate volume edited by Niels Gutschow, illustrations from the mid-Iv'" century together with maps that give a picture of this crucial period in Nepalese history.
For the preparation of the annotated edition of the text, we have used five different manuscripts as witnesses. Of them, NBh V, NAI and NA2 are closely related to each other, though they were prepared at different times. BL and PV are much shorter than other three and had been written around the same time as NBh V. NBh V, NA 1 and NA2 are exclusively Buddhist vamsavalis, but BL and PV are not. They have nonetheless been used as witnesses because they share the style and many of the narrations.
NBhV: This vamsavali in the collection of Cambridge University was the actual manuscript used for Wright's translation. Wright acquired this manuscript from Edward Byles Cowell, who later donated it to the university. The manuscript is archived in the University Library, Cambridge under the number "additional 1952". The manuscript runs to 184 leaves of Nepali paper with nine lines per page. The size of the manuscript is 11 by 4.5 inches and it is in a well preserved condition. The manuscript does not have a colophon. The scribe is not mentioned, but it was probably compiled in the family of Pandit Arnrtananda Vandya. Additional notes on the margins of pages are by a different scribe. The latest event described in the vamsavali is offering of the copper roof to Pasupati in 1838 (VS 1895). However, the manuscript ends with the mention of the birth of King Surendravikrama Saba (1829-1881) in S.S. 1751.
BL: The second manuscript is archived in the Hodgson Collection in the British Library as "Vol. 52, fols. 7-52". Six folios in the beginning are missing from this manuscript. It contains a total number of 46 leaves of Nepali paper. The number of lines per page varies from 22 to 55. The manuscript has two different kinds of writing, probably by the same scribe. It has rough jottings on several pages. The latest incident described in the manuscript is the earthquake of 1833 (NS 953) during the reign of Rajendravikrama Saha. Surprisingly, this important manuscript has so far escaped notice by historians and philologists.
|1||Origins of the Kathmandu Valley||1|
|2||Rescuing of Simhala Sarthavaha||6|
|3||King Sarvananda and His Pious Gift||8|
|4||King Dharmadatta and Virupaksa||10|
|5||Flooding of the Valley by Danasura||14|
|6||Kings Vikrarnaditya, Vikramakesari and Manadeva||17|
|8||Queen Pingala and Arrival of the Goddesses||23|
|9||Nemuni and the Gopala Kings||25|
|10||The Kirati Kings||27|
|11||The Sornavamsi Kings||30|
|12||The Suryavamsl Kings||31|
|13||The Thakuri Kings||42|
|14||The Vaisya-Thakuri Kings of Nuvakota I||54|
|15||The Thakuri and Malla Kings I||56|
|16||The Karnataka Kings||60|
|17||The Vaisya-Thakuri Kings of Nuvakota II||63|
|18||Kings from Simraungadha||66|
|19||The Malla Kings II||73|
|19.1||The Malla Kings of Bhaktapura||78|
|19.2||The Malla Kings of Kantipura||84|
|19.3||The Malla Kings of Lalitapura||102|
|20||The Saha Kings||113|
|21||History of Gorkha Dynasty||122|
Nepal has possibly the largest collection of chronicles in South Asia. These vamsavalis became popular after the Saha dynasty conquered the Kathmandu Valley in 1768/69 and can be regarded as part of the nation building process promoting Nepali as the lingua franca. However, only two longer chronicles have so far been translated into English and thus remained, in a way, the major sources of Nepalese history and legends: The so- called Padmagiri Chronicle included in Bikram Jit Hasrat's History of Nepal (1970), and especially the History of Nepal, translated and edited by Daniel Wright, a physician who served at the British Residency in Kathmandu from 1866 to 1876. This chronicle, whose appropriate name could be Nepalika-Bhupa-Vamsavali (NBh V), "Genealogy of the Kings of Nepal", as its opening stanzas suggest, was composed most probably by a Newar Buddhist pundit in Patan in the 1830s.
The translation into English by Daniel Wright with the help of "Munshi Shew Shunker Singh and Pandit Sri Gunanand" was published in 1877 by Cambridge University Press. It has been reprinted no less than 10 times by different publishers. Being the most readily available translation of the vamsavalis, Wright's book has been used extensively by scholars around the world. It also happens to be the earliest Buddhist vamsavali of the 19th century.
Using newly discovered manuscripts, we here- with present the editio princeps and a new translation of this text, and, in a separate volume edited by Niels Gutschow, illustrations from the mid-19th century together with maps that give a picture of this crucial period in Nepalese history.
The Nepalese vamsavalis' mainly deal with the major historical and legendary events during the. rule of various dynasties of Nepal and report the origins of (holy) places and the deeds of deities, kings and heroes. They range from a few folios up to more than three hundred. There is one early chronicle of the Malla period, the Gopalarajavamsavali (ed. VAJRACARYA & MALLA 1985), which was compiled from various chronicles (WITZEL 1990: 18, MALLA 2015: 498) at the end of the 14th century, probably in Bhaktapur, in a hybrid Sanskrit and Old-Nevari, And there are many later chronicles, mostly written in Nepali. The catalogue of the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project lists 110 vamsavali manuscripts' and the Hodgson Collection in the British Library lists 65.4 These chronicles were mostly composed or compiled in the late 18th and 19th centuries; the authors and compilers are generally not known. To the group of the later chronicles belong the Hindu Bnasavamsavali, the Rajavamsavali, the Rajabhogavamsavali and a number of smaller and specific vamsavalis related to certain ethnic groups, e.g. Sena-, or Gurung- Vamsavali.
Besides the Wright Chronicle, the Padmagiri Chronicle included in Bikram Jit Hasrat's History of Nepal (HASRAT 1970) has gained special attention. It is, broadly, a copy of the English translations of three texts prepared by Brian Houghton Hodgson (1800-1894) himself. These translations are preserved in the Hodgson Collection at the British Library as Vols. 16 and 17 and entitled "Sacred Legends and Vamsavalis of Nepal Proper or the Great Valley". Hasrat attributes the vamsavalis to Padmagiri, a figure not mentioned in the Hodgson documents, but in the Svayambhapurana (1.50) as a name attributed to the Svayarnbhu Hill. The catalogue of the British Library mentions Hasrat's claim that the author of Volume 17 (folios 173-219) is Padmagiri. However, a more detailed study should be undertaken to discover the exact relationship between Hasrat and Hogdson's translation.
Despite the fact that several Nepalese scholars such as Nayanath Paudel, Devi Prasad Lamshal, Gautam Vajra Vajracharya & K.P. Malia, Dines Raj, and Mahes Raj Pant have edited some of these texts in Nepali, the state of the art regarding the Nepalese vamsavalis is unsatisfying, as had already been remarked by Theodore Riccardi in 1986:
There are neither adequate texts nor translations in print, and, curiously, where translations are available there are no texts, and where we have texts there are no translation. Much of the discussion therefore is based on reports about texts rather than on the texts themselves, and outdated translations. Kirkpatrick's text is lost The text used by Wright has never been published, and only Petech reports in print that he has examined it The chronicle discussed by Levi [i.e., the PV: see below] has never been published. Hasrat has published transcriptions of English translations found in the Hodgson papers, but he gives no information about the original texts. Other texts are fragmentary. (RICCARDI 1986: 248)
What is mostly called a 'chronicle' is in fact a combining of genealogical lists - vamsavali literally means' genealogy' - with a great number of narratives focusing on deeds of kings and saints and monks, as well of holy places, i.e. temples, shrines, palaces etc. To these chronicles many other historical sources must be added. In other words, South Asian chronicles should not be seen and treated as historical texts in a conventional sense or as a genuine genre, but as texts that are entangled in a broad array of other complementary past-telling sources.
We assume, and will show below, that the tradition of writing chronicles in Nepali that started in the 1830s had much to do with the colonial interest in India's past, and, more specifically, with the political situation of mid-19th century Nepal and a competition between Hinduism and Buddhism. One strand of this tradition is clearly linked to the Newar tradition of recording historical events in Buddhist thyasaphu or ghatanavali texts.
Another strand of chronicle writing in Nepal is linked to the support by the Hindu palace. This becomes evident from the manuscript situation of NBh V. One of the five manuscripts used by us is kept in the Sylvain Levi collection in the Centre de documentation des Institutes d'Orient of College de France (Paris) and dated 1834. According to its colophon, it was apparently commissioned by the Kantipura (Kathmandu) palace, since it was handed over to the munsi Laksmidasa, i.e. the scribe and translator in this palace. This is also supported by the fact that the manuscript was later presented to Levi by Prime Minister Deva Samasera Ianga Bahadura Rana.
This background has much to do with the political context of the Saha Kings and Rana rulers. After the Gorkha conquest of the Valley (1768-69), the Saha rulers were in need of political and religious legitimation. The Nepali chronicles - often simply a list of Saha rulers and their predecessors - favoured this legitimation by linking the Saha Kings to a glorious past, and to deities that protect them and the country.
Indian and Nepalese Historiography Due to the widely unknown historiographic material, it is an often-discussed theory that India (and this includes, for once, Nepal as well) did not produce any historiography. 6 However, as early as around 1030 CE the Muslim scholar and polymath Al-Biruni could write (quoted after WITZEL 1990: 2):
Unfortunately the Hindus do not pay much attention to the historical order of things, they are very careless in relating the chronological succession of their kings, and when they are pressed for information and are at a loss, not knowing what to say, they invariably take tale-telling.
Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel - influenced by Friedrich Schiller's famous inaugural lecture "Was heifst und zu welchem End studiert man Universalgeschichte?" (What is universal history and to what end does one study it?), delivered in lena in 1789 - concluded that all non-European cultures, including India and China, were without history and did not have "history as an arena of action (res gestae), in which history could develop into a truly political field."
This theory of the lack of Indian historiography has often been repeated. The historian RC. Majumdar, for instance, wrote in his book The History and Culture of the Indian People. The Vedic Age:
It is a well-known fact that with the single exception of Rajatarangini (History of Kashmir), there is no historical text in Sanskrit dealing with the whole or even parts of India. (MAJUMDAR 1951: 47)
Likewise says M. N. Srinivas:
It is indeed surprising that though the existence of castes of genealogists and mythographers has been known since the publication of James Tod's famous Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829- 1832), statements have been made ad nauseam by European observers of Indian life that Indians do not have any sense of history. This myth has obtained such wide currency that even Indian intellectuals subscribe to it. (SRINIVAS 1959: 41f.)
Even Wilhelm Halbfass repeated the argument in 1981, in his book India and Europe:
The Indian tradition has not brought forth historical accounts or inventories of developments, changes, chronological sequences of ideas. Innovations and reorientations have not been documented as such. (HALBFASS 1988: 367)
The Nepalese chronicles, too, have often been classified as historical source material lacking the status of proper historiographical texts. Daniel Wright called "his" chronicle a "native history", Bikram Jit Hasrat has given his book the title "History of Nepal as Told by its Own and Con- temporary Chroniclers", Theodore Riccardi (1986: 247) regarded the texts as a "major source for the writing of Nepalese history" and attributes to the vamsavalis an "unquestioned value as historical documents" that "have created as much confusion as they have illumination:' Michael Witzel classified and valued them as sources of a para-historical nature. Only Yogesh Raj Mishra aptly remarks that "the epistemological superiority of history over sources of history is a vestige of a certain political order of knowledge, and not (...) a consequence of an ignorance of historiography in South Asia" (MISHRA 2010: 15).
It becomes clear that India and Nepal produced more historical sources than just the chronicles, which apparently survived more at the rims of the subcontinent, i.e. Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kashmir or Orissa, "not disrupted by intervening Muslim periods of government" (WITZEL 1990: 40), thus showing that Indian historiography is not a derivate from the Arabic-Persian tradition of history-writing: In Nepal, the chronicles are complemented by inscriptions, a vast number of historical documents, prasastis, manuscript colophons, old coins etc. Besides this bedrock historical material, Nepal has another category of historical texts, written in Nevarl (cf. MISHRA 2010: 24), i.e. thyasaphu (leporello), aitihasikaghatanavali ("a garland of events"), aitihasikatipota ("historical notes") or dharahpau (Teaves of lists"). We further find pu- ranic historiographies (itihasa) and many eulogising texts, i.e. puranas ("based on a framework of a genealogical nature", WITZEL 1990: 2), kat has, mahatmyas, or sthalapuranas such as the Svayam- bhapurana, Pasupatipuriina, Himavatkhanda of the Skandhapuriina, or the Nepiilamahatmya: We have a few historical kiivyas, though not of the extent of Kalhana's Riijatarangini (which lists its own sources, such as inscriptions, prasastis, manuscript colophons, old coins, etc.). We also lack, as far as we know, specific temple histories (e.g. the Madala Panji of Orissa).
Already in 1924, Hermann Goetz, an Indologist and art historian at Heidelberg University, corrected the view that India had not developed any historiography:
In the academic world, there are sometimes theories that have developed due to the lack of knowledge of material and then remained ineradicable, despite knowledge collected in the meantime. The theory that Indians did not develop a real historiography and a sense for history is such a theory. (GOETZ 1924: 4; our translation)
Goetz then lists a number of chronicles: 19 in Sanskrit, 5 in Pali, 11 in Singhalese, 22 in Hindi and Rajasthani, 4 each in Bengali and Tamil; among them the famous Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa from Sri Lanka, the Gangavamsavali from Orissa or the Chambavamsavali. Yet he knew nothing of the large collection of Nepalese chronicles (cf. HASRAT 1970: XV).
South Asian historiography has indeed been preoccupied by arguments based on an understanding of history that highlights facts and events. A transcultural and multidisciplinary approach, however, overcomes the common dichotomies of factuality and functionality, history and myth, or evidence and truth. It analyses the various religious, spatial, literary and historical, and contemporary or context-related aspects of the chronicles and sees the present as an open process synchronically creating chronological spaces.
Much of this historical material has been neglected as historical material - probably due to a Brahmanical purism that focused on Sanskrit at the cost of the vernacular languages, and due to the regional and thus limited scope of the vamsiivalis. However, the question is not so much whether Indian and Nepal historiography exists - this can- not be doubted anymore. It is important rather to specify the distinct form of this Nepalese, and to a certain extent also Indian, concept of history. It is true that the chronicles do not speak for the history of Nepal, but "only" for a certain historical perspective, and therefore remain a kind of ethno-history, i.e. a local, or ethnic or indigenous form of historiography. But in a way all history is ethno-history, the narrative of a certain region and period (cf. MISHRA 2010: 19).
The characteristics of Nepalese historical narratives With such a transcultural approach, the Nepalese chronicles result in a certain concept of history that has its own characteristics. To be sure, these texts claim to narrate the history of Nepal or mostly the Kathmandu Valley and the sequence of its rulers, along with their major deeds and most important events. Their focus is often on the donation of temples and other monuments, but also the description of rituals and festivals, as well as the genealogy of rulers. After all, the chronicles are vamsavalis, i.e. pedigrees of a particular dynasty (vamsa) similar to lists of teachers (parampara).
There are, for instance, realistic reports of fires (NBhV 19/2.109-110), earthquakes (NBhV 18.134, 19/2.354, 20.139, 20.167, and especially 20.192- 201), landslides (NBhV 19/1.9, 19/2.314, 20.164), and repairs of temples (especially ch. 19 passim). At the same time, there are narrations of legend- ary figures and deities as historical agents and their miraculous acts: kings play dice with gods (NBhV 19/1.13), and metal or sand is turned into gold (NBhV 7.39, 15. 25ft".). The vamsavalis contain illusory lengths of reigns ("he ruled for 1000 years": NBhV 4.54,8.30) and exact dates for events or ruling periods. We notice that the chronicles apparently try to heal a departure from tradition, or try to connect to the south, i.e. India, for instance by claiming that Sthitiraja Malla or Pratapa Malla trace their origin to the famous Kamataka King Nanyadeva (BRINKHAUS 1991, WITZEL 1990: 4).
The narration of events Nepalese historiography is, thus, primarily the re- port of a series of events? with chronology as its organizing structure. The Gopalarajavamsavali (fo1. 30b) refers to itself as "accounts of the past" tbhutabrttantat, and the Cambridge manuscript of the NBhV in its opening stanza - not translated by Daniel Wright - to various past incidents ( anekapurvavrttanta):
jyotirupam mahabuddham guhyadevim niranjanim, jyotirupam mahadevam sriganesam namamyaham. anekapurvavrttanta srutva drstva yathakramam, nepalikanam bhupanam vamsavalipralikhyate.
The Great-Buddha-in-the-Form-of-Light; Guhya- devi (Guhyesvari), the Spotless One; the Great-God- in-the-Form-of-Light (Siva); Glorious Ganesa, I pay homage to you. This Chronicle of the kings of Nepal has been written in accordance with various past incidents heard and seen. (our emphasis)
In the case of vamsavalis, we are often dealing with a religiously motivated narrative of events and thus with a religious concept of time, space and agency, which is dominated by divine forces and agents and includes, for example, the focus on origins, creation, miracles, curiosities, sensations, dreams of deities or kings. This goes hand in hand with a stereological concept of time that is not interested in temporality and historicity, but in uniqueness, eternity, and immortality.
This narration is set in the frame of cyclical time, employing the Pan-Indian system of yugas, or ages, that is used as a background chronology, versus a linear sense of time expressed in the genealogies of the dynasties. Within one cycle consisting of four yugas (chapter 1.2ff. and NBhV 8.21-31), the world is continuously degenerating. It concludes with a destruction of the world as we know it, to be recreated in a new cycle of time. The narration of the NBh V is not only structured according to the yugas, it can also be read as a story of decline. The further back in time, the more agency rests with non-humans. Thus, the story proceeds from the Satyayuga, where the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas alone act, to the next yugas, in which the Buddhas build the cities and institute the Kings, to the Kaliyuga, in which most of the narration is set. There, kings freely commune with non-humans, but at some point the deities disappear (NBhV 13.6) or refuse to speak (NBhV 19/3.125). When it comes to the time of the writers, the deeds of the kings mainly consist of military exploits. The concept of decline and the growing remoteness of humans and deities also provide a narrative justification for the diversity of material of which the text is com- posed, and can create continuity between different types of sources.
|1||Origins of the Kathmandu Valley||1|
|2||Rescuing of Simhala Sarthavaha||7|
|3||King Sarvananda and His Pious Gift||9|
|4||King Dharmadatta and Virupaksa||11|
|5||Flooding of the Valley by Danasura||15|
|6||Kings Vikrarnaditya, Vikramakesari and Manadeva||19|
|8||Queen Pingala and Arrival of the Goddesses||25|
|9||Nemuni and the Gopala Kings||27|
|10||The Kirati Kings||29|
|11||The Sornavamsi Kings||33|
|12||The Suryavamsl Kings||35|
|13||The Thakuri Kings||47|
|14||The Vaisya-Thakuri Kings of Nuvakota I||61|
|15||The Thakuri and Malla Kings I||63|
|16||The Karnataka Kings||69|
|17||The Vaisya-Thakuri Kings of Nuvakota II||73|
|18||Kings from Simraungadha||77|
|19||The Malla Kings II||85|
|19.1||The Malla Kings of Bhaktapura||91|
|19.2||The Malla Kings of Kantipura||99|
|19.3||The Malla Kings of Lalitapura||119|
|20||The Saha Kings||131|
|21||History of Gorkha Dynasty||143|
|Appendix 1: A Comparative List of the Rulers of Nepal||150|
|Appendix 2: List of Caste Names||164|
Among many other aspects, the Nepalikabhupavamsavali (NBhV hereafter) is a "spatial text". It refers to an abundance of place names of mountains, hillocks, rivers, confluences, sacred fords, cities, villages, shrines, temples, caityas, palaces and even of individual houses. Given that the Kath- mandu Valley is almost an archaeological terra incognita, it was not possible to confirm the location of those cities which were settled in a prehistoric, mythical period. These are Mafijupattana, Samkasyanagara, Visalanagara, Suprabhanaga, as well as Namsala, Nandigrama, Maligrarna, Magal and Madhyalakhu.
Similarly, the place and/or temples of Cairnjunarayana, Bhalesvara, Bhaktivasag Tirtha, Svetavinayaka, Satesvan, the Aka Bahala monastery and the village Jhula could not be located.
However, we could verify some 500 places, temples and objects and identify them and their location. Wandering around the Kathmandu Valley, Niels Gutschow had been to most of these places either in 1974/76 or in 1980/88. The search for unidentified places started in August 2011 and ended on 10 December 2013, when he finally visited Vagdvara, the source of the Vagmati, to mark its location on the Schneider Map of the Valley at the scale of 1 :50.000. Bijay Basukala from Bhaktapur was his helpful and pleasant companion in this search for places. Many scholars and friends, such as Gautam and Sumati Vajracharya from Wisconsin and Kathmandu, Sukra Sagar Shrestha from Kirtipur, and Govinda Tandon from Deopatan, helped in finding places.
We thought that the wealth of pencil drawings and water- colours made in 1844-1857, roughly the time when the NBhV was composed, perfectly illustrate the architectural and urban environment of the Kathmandu Valley just a few years after the birth of Surendravikrama Saha in 1829 - referred to by the last entry in the NBhV.
Two wood engravings made after paintings by Oldfield were published by the Illustrated London News in 1855. In 1880, his two volumes, entitled Sketches of Nepal, contained 16 lithographs produced after his paintings made in 1852-57. In 1975 Cecilia and Halvard Kuley published 63 paintings by Oldfield in the Bibliotheca Himalaica series, of which 18 are included in the present volume. In 1999 the Himal Association published a small brochure with 34 of Oldfield's paintings, with comments by Gotz Hagmuller, Satya Mohan Joshi and Sudarshan Raj Tiwari on the occasion of an exhibition of facsimiles at the Buggy Khana in Patan. The present volume contains 47 of Oldfield's paintings from the collections of the British Library and the Royal Geographic Society in London, many of which are here published for the first time.
Of the pencil drawings of the Collection of the Royal Asiatic Society in London made by Rajman Singh in c. 1844, five were published in the Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings, Engravings and Busts published by Raymond Head in 1991. The present volume presents 31 of his drawings, 28 of these for the first time. We are grateful to both institutions.
Manik Bajracharya, Niels Gutschow, Axel Michaels Heidelberg in summer 2014
The first image to have a reference to Nepal was published in 1667 in Athanasius Kircher's monumental account of China's memorable sites, natural and artistic'. In chapter four of part two he refers to "The dress, customs and habits of the other people of those kingdoms which were observed and described by Fr. Abert de Dorville and Fr. Johannes Grueber". Figures 24-27 illustrate men in dresses of the kingdom of Necbal and "the dress of women near Cuthi, the capital of the kingdom of Necbal". Grueber also mentioned the capital Cadmendu, whose king was "not unfriendly to the Christian law". Houses with tiled roofs and a tiered temple in the background suggest associations with Nepal, but the garment as well as the headgear are imaginary and simply serve the impulse to incorporate the experiences of the Jesuit missionaries.
Two generations later, another image of a woman from Nepal appears in the context of the French court in Paris in l735, published by Jean de Julienne in a volume with 271 engravings by Francois Boucher after drawings and paintings by Antoine Watteau. Among these are thirty engravings featuring the wall paintings made for the Cabinet du Roi in the Chateau de la Muette in Paris. Although much was known at that time about China, the paintings were probably not meant to demonstrate visual evidence of this knowledge or to pre-sent authentic Chinese personalities. It is rather "the fusion of contradictions and their open hybridization of the self with the fictive other'"; the images stand for a deliberately unscientific approach of Watteau. Chinoiserie was a European idea, and ideas about the Far East were visualized as a peaceful Utopia. The engravings produced by Francois Boucher were therefore not confined to presenting a "Jardinier Chinois" or a "Medicin Chinois", but also a "fille du Royaume D' AVA", a daughter of the country of Ava, a kingdom in upper Burma. Chinoiserie covered the entire Far East, including Japan and India. In this context, we also find a "Femme du Royaume de Nepal" - turning Grueber's Necbal into NecpaJ. The engraving shows a woman leaning against a withered tree, with a pool in front of her. In the background appears the spire of a temple and a faint indication of a city. The lady seems gloomy with her head slightly inclined.
The first engravings of buildings and sites in of the Kathmandu Valley based on a site visit were made in 1793 and published in 1811 by William Kirkpatrick? (1764-1805). Among these were the "Temple of Sumbhoo-nath", a general view of "Khatmandu" and a "Panoramic View of the Valley of Nepal", seen from a location along the Bagman, between Svayambhu and Kathmandu.
Sketches made by the Scottish physician, zoologist and botanist Francis Buchanan Hamilton (1762-1829) while he was staying in the Kathmandu Valley for 14 months during the years 1802 and 1803 covered the "Kasachait" in the frontispiece and five "Views of the Himaliya Mountains".
In 1845 Prince Waldemar of Prussia (18l7-1849) followed, who visited the Kathmandu Valley from 9th to 27th February. One map and 15 views were lithographed after sketches and published in Berlin in 1853.
All of the engravings mentioned above were based on cursory sketches or even memory. But little resemblance to the sketched sites can be made out. The view of Kathmandu, for example, turns memory into an idea of what an oriental townscape should look like, very much in the tradition of Watteau's paintings. Jeremiah Losty surmises that Kirkpatrick "may well have taken an official artist with him or employed an artist there, but the illustrations were all redrawn for publication, several of them being the work of A. W. Devis".
Watercolours and Drawings, c. 1844-1857
Drawings by Rajrnan Singh
Brian Houghton Hodgson and Rajman Singh Born in 1801, Hodgson studied at Haileybury, a college founded in 1806 "to educate future civilian employees of the East India Company". He arrived in Calcutta in 1818 and was sent to Kumaon as Assistant Commissioner before he came to Nepal in 1820 to serve as Assistant Resident. From that beginning, the Asiatic Society in Calcutta "saw his posting to Kathmandu as giving the opportunity for a promising young man to provide more information about Nepal - among other things he collected weather records and crystals for them'". After two years, he returned to Calcutta, but was posted again to Nepal in 1824 and be- came Acting Resident in 1829. As early as 1825, he com- missioned the pandit Amrtananda to copy manuscripts, trappers and hunters were employed to support his studies in zoology, and local draughtsman and artists were asked to sketch Buddhist deities and architecture. The first publication presenting caityas in elevation appeared in 1828 and two years later another paper, entitled "Sketch of Buddhism" with four plates, included "A Nepalese Vihar. From a drawing by a Nepalese Painter" . This rather awkward drawing presents an axonometric view of monastic courtyard, almost reduced to its facades, entirely neglecting the depth of the wings of the quadrangle.
Contemporary with these drawings are 24 drawings kept in the Musee Guimet in Paris. Only some of these, such as "the 4 chaitya situated to the west and south [etc.] of the city of Patan, called in the vulgar tongue Lagan - Ipi - Teta & Puacha respectively", are ill-proportioned but strictly elevational. Others present in parts an elevation, while the remainder, such as that of the stepped platform below a caitya or a temple, use perspective. At that time, Hodgson wrote of his major draughtsman as "my Chitrakar (Bauddha though he be)".
The later set of drawings in a more picturesque style are kept by the Royal Asiatic Society in London and "eighty-nine of the Chaitya class" at the British Museum. Many of those in the picturesque style are signed in the lower right corner in Devanagari, "Raj(a)jman(a)sim Nepal".They were all done in the early 1840s, before Hodgson left for Calcutta and England in 1843. On the drawing depicting the "Kashthmandap" (no. 49, see plate 62), Hodgson calculated the dating of the building and arrived at 1595, or 249 years previously. He adds in brackets "date of drawing 1844 AD". Rajman Singh might have kept producing drawings in Hodgson's absence or copied an earlier one after he joined him in 1845 in Darjeeling. On his return trip to India in July 1845, Hodgson prepared a list of "architectural illustrations being views of temples, houses &c in the Valley of Nepal proper in numbered series, 50 sheets?". These were donated to the Royal Asiatic Society, most probably by his widow, at the end of the 19th century.
By the 1840s, Rajman Singh's drawings "grew increasingly skilful and confident in the new [European] manner" as Jeremiah P. Losty writes. Losty is sure that Rajman Singh had seen "drawings in the picturesque manner", influenced by George Chinnery, "whose landscape style was highly influential in early nineteenth-century Calcutta". Most probably, Rajman Singh used a camera Lucida (Latin "light room"), an optical device which allows a view to be traced. The image is projected through a lens on to a sheet of paper, thus aiding in the accurate rendering of perspective.
|Images of Nepal||10|
|Drawings by Rajman Singh|
|Paintings by Henry Ambrose Oldfield|
|Wood engravings, published by Hermann Schlagintweit|
|Settlements of the Kathmandu Valley||18|
|Part II||Chapter 1 - 19|
|The Origins of the Kathmandu Valley||24|
|Kathmandu Valley - Creating Sacred Territory||36|
|The Flooding of the Valley by Danasura||46|
|The Kathmandu Valley and Neighbouring Valleys||49|
|The Suryavarnsi dynasty and Devapatana||59|
|The Foundation of Lalitapura and Sankhu||68|
|The Foundation of Bhaktapura and KIrtipura||71|
|Kathmandu as Uttarakasi||73|
|Part III||The Malia Kings of Bhaktapura||76|
|Part IV||The Malia Kings of Kantipura||102|
|Part V||The Malia Kings of Lalitapura||116|
|Part VI||History of the Gorkha Dynasty||150|
Item Code: NAM715 Author: Manik Bajracharya and Axel Michaels Cover: Paperback Edition: 2016 Publisher: Himal Books, Nepal ISBN: Vol. 1: 9789937597258
Vol. 2: 9789937597234
Vol. 3: 9789937597241 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch x 10.0 inch Pages: 520 (Throughout B/W and Color Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 2.0 kg
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