Gallery 232, second floor
Over the past 2,500 years, virtuoso artists of the Newar ethnic group in Nepal have created countless masterpieces of Buddhist and Hindu art, but the Malla Period (1200–1768) was perhaps their artistic "Golden Age." During this time, the fame of these skilled artists traveled far beyond Nepal's Kathmandu Valley and into neighboring Tibet, Bhutan, and India. Their renown even entered the court of Kublai Khan, founder of the Chinese Yuan Dynasty. Numerous international commissions followed, buoyed by wealth acquired through new and lucrative trade between these nations. The vibrant mineral colors, clarity of line, and elegant forms employed by these artists echo the aesthetic of their fifteenth century Florentine contemporaries Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli, whose works were similarly sponsored by wealth derived from new international trade. In this exhibition, the Museum presents masterpieces from its own outstanding collection of rarely seen Malla Period art. Vibrant Buddhist ritual paintings burst with energy, a marvelous goddess coyly dances, and golden Hindu and Buddhist sculptures regally invite adoration.
Katherine Anne Paul • Associate Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art