The thing about Nepalese sculptures is that they exude an inner energy. It shines through the relaxed yogasanas the deities are in, the realistic folds of their raiments, and the expressive countenances that characterise the sculptural tradition of Nepal. Such sensitively rendered details, staring from the complex gilding and delicate etchings to the luscious inlays, create astonishingly lifelike figures. Representations of the gurus, mahasiddhas, and arhats are idealised, which gives us an idea of the imaginative prowess and the capacity to express of the artisans who made them. The Nepalese are not known to conform to realistic portraiture, because in Vajrayana Buddhism 'reality' and 'realism' are essentially meaningless. Consider the example of a wrathful deity, replete with a motley of limbs and heads, violent gestures, ferocious stance. Such a composition, coherent and organic, is alive and potent with a force that could be captured almost exclusively by this great sculptural tradition.
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