Nepalese art has a long tradition, dating back millenia. Being at a crossroads of Asia's empires, Nepal's art and architecture reflects a fusion of many. Nevertheless, it is not a monolith, expressing and manifesting itself in diverse forms reflecting the experiences of Nepal's diverse ethnic groups. Enjoy and please contribute!
The word "Paubha" is derived from a Sanskrit word Patrabhattarak. This means depiction of god and goddesses on a flat form. This very old traditional art form was practiced from a historical time when there was a tradition of oral transfer of knowledge from father to son or the member of the family of their own caste or clan, and the knowledge was kept secret within the circle of their family. Sometimes the knowledge was also passed on to the devout pupil from a learned master, so it was a master to disciple tradition (guru sisya parampara). On the basis of historical evidences "Paubha" painting tradition goes beyond 7th century. The use of mineral pigment and the process of making color signify its historic origin. To describe the method and historical time of practice of "paubha" painting a passage from an important tantric text "Manjushree Mulakalpa" dating from third century A.D is given below.
One of the special features of Newar Paubha is that the central figure occupies an ornate frame, an elaborate arch or a torana dvara, formed by the head of garuda or Tsepu or Kirtimukha, a mythical creature of Nepal. Holding two snakes. It is surrounded by much smaller subsidiary figures. It differs from the Tibetan thanka as Paubha is a Newari art form of the Kathmandu Valley. It can be Hindu or Buddhist or a syncretism of both.
Modern variations of Paubha