Outline sketch of a Buddhist stupa, with typically Nepalese finial with eyes, inscribed "Kasachit"
Watercolour drawing of a Buddhist stupa in Patan (Lalitpur), Nepal, part of the Lawrence collection created by an anonymous artist, c. 1843-1846. Inscribed in pencil on the front: 'Temple of Budha in Patan'; and inscribed below in ink: 'Kasachit.'
Lalitpur, the 'City of Beauty' was founded in the 2nd century by the Kirats and it remained a valley kingdom until the late 15th century when it became a sovereign state, together with Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. All three were built around Durbar Squares containing Palace and Temple complexes. According to legend, the Mauryan emperor Asoka visited the area in c.250 BC and built the four stupas that still stand at the four corners of Patan. The face with exaggerated eyes on the finial of the stupa in this drawing is typically Nepalese and is symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective. The symbol in place of a nose is actually a representation of the number one in the Nepali alphabet, signifying that the only way to enlightenment is by following the Buddhist path. Above the pair of eyes is a third eye that refers to the wisdom of looking within. No ears are shown because it is said the Buddha is not interested in hearing prayers in praise of him.