Gallery 2 -- History, Mythology and
Festivals of Changu Narayan
In August 2011, we were granted funds from the US Ambassador's Fund for
Cultural Preservation to restore a space for Gallery 2. The gallery opened in
November 2014, only to be destroyed by the April 2015 earthquake.
Gallery 2 has a permanent exhibition about the history, mythology and contemporary
festivals of Changu Narayan.
UNESCO has recognized Changu Narayan as a world heritage site. However, there is
virtually no information for tourists or Nepalis about the significance of Changu Narayan. It is
one of the oldest temple sites in the valley, with a scripted pillar dating from 464 AD and a
number of exquisite stone sculptures dating from the 7th century. The pillar fell sometime
before recorded history. One inscribed section was erected near the original site, buried into
the ground 3-4 feet. This pillar has been restored digitally into its original form, with the
magnificent stone image of Garuda on the top. This photo will be printed on cloth in its
original size (20 ft. long) and hung inside Gallery Two.
We commissioned a traditional painter to paint a 4 x 10 foot paubha painting. This paubha
continues a tradition of landscape painting in which the sacred sites as they existed in the 5th
century AD are presented against a background of the Himalayas and surrounding hills, with
the main tributaries of the Bagmati flowing through green fields. Changu Narayan and three
other Narayan sites form a mandala within the valley. Three myths about the evolution of this
site are depicted around the Changu image.
Copper repousse work is an important medium in temple art. A repousse installation
illustrates in ten stages the process of creating a repoussse image, including tools, photos
and text. The centerpiece of the installation is a 16-inch free-standing repousse image, a
reproduction of the Vishnu from the repousse torana over the main entrance to the temple,
The exquisite image demonstrates the high skill level of living Newari artisans. In a ground-
breaking shift for museum protocol, devotees will be allowed to worship it, making the LTM a
culturally interactive museum.
See James Giambrone's video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5oe5WDpfxA
The rest of the space will be a combination of historic photographic prints of Changu
Narayan images, contemporary photographs of ceremonies and rituals that communicate the
continual significance of these temples, and some ancient images and wood carvings that
have been collected and protected over the years.
Two eminent Nepalis assisted me: Mukunda Raj Aryal, a historian and professor of Nepali art
history and culture and Sukra Sagar Shrestha, one of Nepal's preeminent archaeologists.
|January 2014: The roof is in place, Gallery 2 is almost complete.
We invite you to help reconstruct the museum with a donation.
The inscribed column in front of Vishnu Narayan temple, which was
digitally restored full scale for Gallery 2.
Beginning stage of the Paubha painting of Kathmandu Valley during
the Licchavi period by Sundar Vajracharya.
Gallery 2 restoration. Naoko Berry (conservationist), Judith Chase
(founder), Suresh Shrestha (restoration in charge).
Copper repousse image over the main temple
doorway that was to be copied for the exhibition
as a free standing image that could be
Above: digitally reconstructed photo of the pillar in front of the
main Vishnu temple by Julian Parker-Burns. This was
destroyed in the earthquake, but will be reprinted when the
museum is ready to open again.
Right: Part of the copper repousse process exhibition by
James Giambrone. It was not damaged.