Buddhist temple, Patan (Nepal). January 1855
Artist: Oldfield, Henry Ambrose (1822-1871)
Watercolour of a Buddhist temple at Lalitpur (Patan) in Nepal, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871), dated January 1855. The image is inscribed on the front in ink: 'H.A. Oldfield. Nepal'; and on the back: 'Buddhist temple, called by the Newars 'Epee Towdoo'; on the North side of the city of Patun. January 1855'.
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. There are numerous vihars in Patan which were originally built as Buddhist monasteries. The artist, Dr Oldfield, was Residency Surgeon at Kathmandu from 1850-1863. After his death his family published his two volume 'Sketches from Nipal, Historical and Descriptive...' (1880), which described life in the court of the Maharajah Jung Bahadur and also contained descriptions of Buddhist architecture, together with illustrations from Oldfield's own drawings. Of this image, he wrote: "It is situated just within the walls of the city, whereas the three other temples all stand some distance outside the city. There are several descriptions about the temple, but they are most of them so old and defaced that they cannot be deciphered...In the centre of the hemisphere is a spring, which is dry during the greater part of the year; but in the rains the water issues from it, oozing through the brickwork of the plinth on its southwestern side...Although the small tower-like spire, and the shrines around the base of the temple have been kept in very good repair, the hemisphere or mound itself has been entirely neglected."