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Part of the King's Palace & Zenana Apartments, [Kathmandu]

Part of the King's Palace & Zenana Apartments, [Kathmandu]

Photographer: Taylor, Clarence Comyn

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1863

Shelfmark: Photo 855/(2)

Item number: 8552

Length: 31

Width: 33.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the palace including the zenana (or women's quarters), in Kathmandu; part of a collection of albumen prints taken by Clarence Comyn Taylor between 1863-65, which constitute the earliest photographs of Nepal. Taylor, a soldier in the East India Company's army, was badly wounded in the Indian Uprising of 1857 and turned to Political Service, arriving in Kathmandu in 1863 as Assistant Resident. At this time the British had started a project to document the people and monuments of the Indian sub-continent using photography. Taylor fortuitously was a capable photographer and took images of Nepal for the Government of India. Taylor described this image in his List of pictures as, 'No II. View of part of the King's Palace, the building with the white roof in the centre of the picture being a part of the zenana and Ladies apartment. In the foreground is seen the tall wooden mast called a 'Linga' surrounded by 8 small beams which is annually erected on the first night of the Indra Jatra festival in September to commemorate the conquest of the valley by the Goorkhas in 1767, the long silken flag attached to its top is decorated with numerous symbols of Hindoo mythology'. Kathmandu, on the Bagmati river, is the capital of Nepal, and came to prominence from the Licchavi period (300-800AD), though much of its fine architecture dates from the later Malla period (1200-1769). Situated at the heart of the Trans-Himalayan trade route between India, China and Tibet, it flourished by levying taxes. Also on the trade route was the Malla palace or Hanuman Dhoka, named after the 17th-century statue of the monkey god Hanuman which stands at the palace gate. The palace complex and environs are referred to as the Darbar Square of Kathmandu. The oldest parts of the palace date from the 16th century. The five-acre compound is a cluster of buildings, both sacred and secular, grouped around ten inner courtyards.

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