The Sacred Art of Nepal
Online galleries of master paubha painter Dr Renuka Gurung(Pradhan) PhD


  1. Newar style after the 13th century reflected developments in illustrated manuscript painting, which was an earlier tradition, dating from 11th century; the Newar style changed little until the 17th century.
  2. 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.
  3. The profuse use of red color in a softer tone that the red used by Tibetans.
  4. Designs in the aura of the main deity are much simpler than in Tibetan paintings.
  5. The background is filled with flowers and creeping plants in early Newar paintings.
  6. The blank spaces in the background contain simple designs of flowers and long leaves.
  7. The deities are painted with fine line drawing in Newar paintings.
  8. The inclusion of white flowers, large leaves, mountains, stupas, clouds, temples and monasteries in background scenes is found in Tibetan compositions, whereas there were no background elements in early Newar paintings.
  9. The painted surface is divided into sections. In the larger upper part, the main divinities and their acolytes are depicted, while the lower part is usually smaller in size, and filled with depictions of sponsors or donors. Also women are graphically separated from men, each appearing on opposite sides of the central divinity or sacrificial fire. This grouping by gender is characteristic of near painting.
  10. Only after 17-18th centuries did Nepalese artists began to paint background scenes.
  11. The portrayal of Tantric deities’s wrathful expression is more vigorous in Tibetan than in Nepalese paintings.
  12. The painters remain anonymous.
  13. Mughal and Rajput influences appear only during the 17th century
  14. Curly Chinese clouds entered the repertoire of decorative motifs after the 18th century. 

The author
Min Bahadur Shakya is a scholar of Newari and Tibetan Buddhism. Among his major publications are : Princess Bhrikuti Devi, Boudhanath Stupa, A Short History of Buddhism in Nepal, Introduction to Buddhist Monasteries of the Kathmandu Valley and Iconography of Nepalese Buddhism.
He was vice-president of the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth(WFBY) from 1984-1988 and was nominated as Research Associate of the Fokuang Shan Chinese Buddhist Research Academy(Taiwan), 1989-1990.