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           E A RLY  M A L L A  P E R I OD

           S CU L P T U R E  F RO M

           N E PAL  W I TH I N  TH E

           M AI T R I  CO LLE C T I ON

           by Jane Casey, January 2018

           The Maitri Collection includes outstanding works from the Transitional
           (c. 879-1200) and early Malla (c. 1200-1482) periods of Nepal. At the turn
           of the 13th century, the Kathmandu Valley supported thriving centers of
           Hindu and Buddhist culture. Its great neighbor to the south, however, was
           undergoing convulsive change at the hands of the newly established Muslim
           rulers, whose invasions of north India had effectively destroyed the Buddhist
           homeland. In 1255, the Kathmandu Valley experienced a devastating
           earthquake, said to have claimed the lives of one third of the population,
           including the king Abhaya Malla. The Khasa Malla kings (no relation to the
           Mallas of the Kathmandu Valley) consolidated power in west Nepal around
           Dullu in the Jumla Valley, and repeatedly attacked the Kathmandu Valley
           between 1275 and 1335. In 1345-46, the Sultan of Bengal, Shams-ud-
           din Ilyas, led a punishing raid into the Valley that left much of its wooden
           architecture and many Hindu and Buddhist sites in ruins, including important
           Licchavi period (c. 300-879) palaces. Finally in 1482, with the death of
           Yaksha Malla, the Kathmandu Valley was divided into three main kingdoms of
           Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Patan.

           Despite these political and natural calamities within this period, Nepal
           sustained its position as an artistic culture of international renown. Major
           painting commissions were undertaken by Nepalese artists for Tibetan
           patrons, including those of the iconic 13th century Green Tara in the
           Cleveland Museum of Art, a series of spectacular paintings illustrating the
           Vajravali mandalas dating to the mid-15th century, and the unparalleled
           Dancing Ganesha dating to the first half 15th century. 1

           1  Published in Kossak & Casey Singer, Sacred Visions, New York, 1998, pp.144-6; 165-71; 173-7;
           and Huntington & Bangdell, Circle of Bliss, Columbus Ohio, 2003, pp.495-7.

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