Throne of the Malla King of Patan/Lalitpur.
KUKRI HISTORY & HERITAGE.
Pre-Gorkhali Invasion -
The Malla Kings of the Kathmandu Valley.
A Himalayan civilization between the Emperor of China & Rulers of India.
King Yoganarendra Malla column (ca. 1700) in
Patan Durbar Square
Watercolour of a distant view of Kathmandu in Nepal, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871), dated April 1853.
Watercolour of the Durbar Square at Kathmandu, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, c.1852. View of part of the Durbar, with adjacent temples, & large figure of Bhairab.
Pencil, wash and watercolour drawing of the five-tiered Nyatapola temple at Bhaktapur, part of the Lawrence collection created by an anonymous artist, c. 1843-1846. The Nyatapola temple is unusual for the region as it has five storeys and stands on a five tiered base. It was built in about 1700 in the reign of King Bhupatrinda Malla (1694-1722).
Watercolour drawing with pencil and ink of the palace at Bhaktapur, part of the Lawrence collection created by an anonymous artist, c. 1843-1846.
Watercolour of the west end of the Durbar, or Royal Palace, at Bhaktapur. Temple of Krishna (on the left) built A.D. 1586. Smaller temple (on the right) dedicated to Narayn, built A.D. 1435. Painting by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, dated March 1853.
Watercolour of the Durbar at Bhaktapur by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, dated 1854.
Bhaktapur, the 'City of Devotees' is 11 km east of Kathmandu and 10 km north-east of Patan and is the youngest of the three former city-states of the Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur was founded in the 9th century and rose to prominence under the Malla dynasty.
Watercolour of the Krishna temple in Lalitpur (Patan) by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, c.1855. Lalitpur, the 'City of Beauty' was founded in the 2nd century by the Kirats. The Krishna Mandir Temple, in the centre (grey building) was built in 1637 by King Siddhi Narasingh Malla.
Watercolour of Thappatalli, the Residence of Maharaja Jang Bahadur at Kathmandu by H.A. Oldfield, 1850s.
King, Courts & Royalty –
The Kings of the Valley were in their own right supported by a largely Buddhist population, the Newari community have developed their own form of Buddhism, though many believes of Hinduism was incorporated from early on. In many ways Hinduism legitimized royalty more than Buddhism did and over time the idea of the King being an incarnation of Vishnu emerged. This was later to be adopted by the Shah dynasty after conquering the Valley as well as the title “Shree panch (5)”. A normal person held only one “shree”,i.e "Shree man/mati", a ruler often two or three and only the most powerful king(s) five. “Shree” is an honorific title of honour and respect.
The (royal) court system of the Malla kings were far more complex than any other royal house in the hills. There was wealth, scholars with knowledge, a large nobility whom shared a high degree of loyalty attached to the court. There was stability to develop, not only territorial gains (which was often the focus of neighbouring royal houses) which allowed the Mallas to develop a davanced Palace culture.
The Malla kings based their rule and legitimacy on being the preserver and protector of righteous moral order (Dharma) and gave large donations and implemented the buildings of various Buddhist and Hindu religious shrines. Temples, buildings and palaces were ornately decorated by the skilled craftsmen of the Valley, resulted among others in the three Durbar Squares of the Valley, which are now part of UNESCO´s World Heritage sites. The buildings of the three Durbar Squares (Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur) are jewels of medieval art and architecture, clear examples of the artistic skill and advanced “civilisation” of the Malla Kings of the Valley. The three royal families began to accept Taleju(Maheshwari) Bhawani, a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva´s consort as their personal deity and large temples were built for goddess Taleju from the 14th century onward probably influenced by South Indian Brahmins employed in the Valley. The three cities have their own Taleju temples built between the 16th and 17th Century, Bhaktapur in 1553, Kathmandu in 1564 and Patan in 1667. The Living goddess Kumari is closely associated to Taleju.
The king had no set limit for his domain, whose borders were determined only by the power of his army, statecraft and favour of the divine powers. The Mallas rarely took large military expeditions outside the Valley and if a military expedition was launched it was often to secure the passage of trade an seek alliances. Their wealth also allowed them to pay opponents to stay away while occasional battles are recorded in history. The Shah dynasty on the other hand seems to have seen this as a right for further expansion and used this in their own favour to expand the domains and thus make Nepal.
Watercolour of the Nyatapola Temple at Bhaktapur, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, dated c.1854.
It was built in about 1700 in the reign of King Bhupatrinda Malla (1694-1722).
Watercolour of the Bhairava Temple at Bhaktapur, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, dated April 1852.
Bhairav is an incarnation of Shiva.
The first temple on this site was built in the early 17th century, an extra storey was added King Bhupatindra Malla in 1717 and a third level was added when the temple was rebuilt after the 1934 earthquake.
Watercolour of part of the Mahabouddha temple at Lalitpur (Patan), by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, c. 1850-1863.
The Mahabouddha temple, the Temple of the Thousand Buddhas, is believed to have been originally built in 1585.
An artist’s rendering of the White Dagoba (stupa) built by Arniko, that still stands at the Miao Ying temple in Beijing.
Silk and ink portrait of Kublai Khan, supposedly by Arniko, now in a Taipei museum. It was drawn just after the Khan’s death in 1294. Kublai Khan was the grandson of Genghis Khan and ruled over Mongolia, parts of China and Korea.
Watercolour of a Buddhist temple at Kirang (Kerung/Gyirong) at the Nepal-Tibet (china) border by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, dated May 1855. 'Ghyong' is a Temple as distinguished from a 'Goompa' which is a monastery, or Lamaseri.
"This country is like a gourd between two rocks. Maintain a treaty of friendship with the emperor of China. Keep also a treaty of friendship with the emperor of the southern sea (the Company). He has taken the plains."
-King Pritihvi Narayan Shah, ca 1774 AD.
Watercolour of the Golden Gate in the Durbar at Bhaktapur, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, dated c.1854.
The Golden Gateway, seen in this view, is covered with gilt-copper carvings; it was erected by King Ranjit Malla (1722-1769) and dedicated to the goddess Taleju. "In each city the largest and most important building is the royal palace or darbar. It is situated in a central part of the city, and opposite to its principal front there is an open irregular square, which allows free access to the palace, and round which temples of various kinds are clustered together...In Kathmandu, Patan and Bhatgaon, most of the principal temples are in the immediate vicinity of the darbar..."
Watercolour of the Dhunsar at Kathmandu , by Henry Ambrose Oldfield, dated March 1857.
"Near the south-western angle of the darbar is the little square now used as a fruit market, which is called Kathmandu Tol. The old building, Kathmandu, from which the city derives its name, is situated on its northern side; the old Dhunsar court of law, now deserted and in ruin, on its eastern; some fakir's houses on its south, and some old and half-ruined temples on its west. It is one of the most curious and characteristic places in the whole of the city."
Watercolour drawing of the image of Kala-Bhairava and the northern part of the old royal palace at Kathmandu, part of the Lawrence collection, by an anonymous artist working in the Nepalese school, c. 1843-1846.
'Temples at Khatmandu.' Bhairava is an incarnation of the god Shiva in his terrifying form of the 'Destroyer'. The Kala (black) Bhairava was found in a field during the reign of King Pratap Malla and was installed in its present position by the King, whose image, looking towards his private temple dedicated to the goddess Taleju, is represented on a gilt bronze pillar positioned in front of the god.
Dr. Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871) was a Surgeon attached to the British Residence (a early form of Embassy) and lived in Nepal from 1850-1863. During his time at the Residency he studied Nepal, specially its geography and religion. As an artist he caputred the Valley and Nepal through his art work; drawings and paintings and after his death his work was published in "Sketches from Nipal, Vol. I and Vol. II" London: 1880. During the war with Tibet in 1855 he was given permission to accompany the troops to the border, as a close friend with Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana, a most rare permission allowing him a unique view of Nepal of that time. His artwork is found at the British Library among other places. His book gives a good early account of Nepal and of tremendous value in understanding the past.
Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence (1806-1857), served as the British Resident in Nepal from 1843-45 (holding rank of Major) had earlier served in the Military (1st Anglo-Burmese War 1824, 1st Anglo-Afghan War 1838 and in the North West Frontier) and as a Civil Servant of the British East India Company which included being appointed Superintendent of Dehradun, Assistant Envoy in Lahore prior taking up duties in Kathmandu. He left Kathmandu to serve as Politcal Assistant in Lahore, Governor Generals agent in Rajputna and died fighting in the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 holding rank of Major-General. His legacy is survived by for example: Lawrence School, Sanawar (HP, India), Lawrence School, Lovedale (TN, India) and Lawrence College, Ghora Gali (Murree, Pakistan). There is also a memorial in Lucknow for him (his eldest son Alexander was created 1st Baronet Lawrence of Lucknow in 1858) as well as a statue in St.Pauls Church, London. He was a vivid writer and his years in Kathmandu gave him plenty of time to pursue his passion to write.
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