East front of temple of Adi Buddha, Sambhunath (Nepal), with Indra's Thunderbolt in the foreground. c. April 1854
Artist: Oldfield, Henry Ambrose (1822-1871)
Watercolour of the east front of the temple of Adi Buddha at Swayambhunath in Nepal, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871), dated c. April 1854. The image is inscribed on the front in ink: 'H.A. Oldfield. Nepal'; and on the back: 'No. 13. Buddhist temple at Sumbhunath. (Adi Buddha) East front.' and is the original drawing for the illustration which faces page p.219 of Volume II of Oldfield's 'Sketches from Nipal, Historical and Descriptive...' (1880).
Dr Oldfield, who was Residency Surgeon at Kathmandu from 1850-1863, wrote: "The great temple to which the name of Sambhunath is specially applied, is a very fine and perfect specimen of a Buddhist chaitya, or mound-temple. It consists of a solid hemisphere of earth and brick, about sixty feet in diameter and thirty feet in height, supporting a lofty conical spire, the top of which is crowned by a richly-carved pinnacle of copper-gilt. Its only basement is a narrow cylindrical plinth, faced with slabs of stone, and which projects about two feet round the base of the temple. The hemisphere is somewhat flattened above; is covered with plaster, and is frequently overgrown with grass and weeds. The square toran or basement of the spire, has a projecting cornice above and below; it is covered with plates of copper-gilt, and has the two eyes of Buddha, painted in crimson, white and black colours, on each of its four sides. Springing from the tops of the four sides of the toran, are four large angular slabs or escutcheons, also of copper-gilt, on each of which are five bas-reliefs of various Buddhas, Buddhisatwas, Lamas, and other eminent Buddhist saints."