Artist: Oldfield, Henry Ambrose (1822-1871)
Watercolour of the Changu Narayan temple complex at Bhaktapur in Nepal, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871), c. 1850-1863. The image is inscribed on the reverse: 'Narayn-Chok, Bhatgaon'.
Bhaktapur was founded in the 9th century and rose to prominence under the Malla dynasty. It remained a valley kingdom until the late 15th century when it became a sovereign state, together with Kathmandu and Patan. All three have similar architecture and were built around Durbar Squares containing Palace and Temple complexes. The Changu Narayan temple is the oldest site in the valley which is dedicated to Shiva. The pillar in front of the temple is topped by a statue of Garuda, Vishnu's vehicle, in the shape of a man with wings and a cobra around his neck. This pillar is now broken and the statue stands on the ground, still in front of the temple. To the right of the pillar is a statue, in a niche, of Vishnu, in his incarnation as Narasimha, the man-lion. The artist, Dr Oldfield, was Residency Surgeon at Kathmandu from 1850-1863. After his death his family published, in two volumes, his '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 of the latter from Oldfield's own drawings.