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Rare Nepalese art at Crocker

Unknown artist, “Candra mandala,” Nepal, 1599. Colors on cloth, 38 ¾ x 27 ¾ in. Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection
Unknown artist, “Candra mandala,” Nepal, 1599. Colors on cloth, 38 ¾ x 27 ¾ in. Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection

“Celestial Realms: The Art of Nepal” opens Oct. 20

SACRAMENTO — The Crocker Art Museum will present a rare Nepalese exhibition that explores the art of the Newar people who have lived in the Kathmandu Valley for millennia.

“Celestial Realms: The Art of Nepal,” on view Oct. 20 through Feb. 10, 2013, will highlight the richness of Nepalese culture and include paintings, ritual objects, and stone, wood, and bronze sculpture from the 8th to the 20th centuries. Some tribal sculpture will also be included. These pieces have been drawn from private California collections and the collection of the Crocker. More than half of the objects in the exhibition have never been on public display.

Nepalese art is both Buddhist and Hindu and is ever visible in Nepalese culture, as ancient objects are installed in the temples, squares, and tanks of the cities of the Kathmandu Valley. Isolated from the West until the second half of the 20th century, our knowledge of Nepal is relatively recent.

Early Nepalese artists drew upon Indian art as their inspiration, yet they soon created a unique style. Their distinctive workmanship was sought for inclusion in Tibetan monasteries and by the emperors of China. Intricate paintings, with their characteristic Nepalese reds and blues, radiate a cheerful vibrancy while the sculptures range from the elegant to the fantastic.

A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition, with essays by independent scholars Nancy Tingley, Ph.D. and Nutandhar Sharma.

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Posted by on May 24 2012.
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