Golden Peaks and Tinkling Bells: Gilt Metal Craft in the Kathmandu Valley Architecture
Golden Peaks and Tinkling Bells: Gilt Metal Craft in the Kathmandu Valley Architecture The architecture of the Kathmandu Valley is a matter of repeating interest and has been described by many scholars. One aspect has not been given adequate attention namely the use of gold in the sacred buildings and ceremonial activities of the Newar society. The essay gives its merit to the craftsmen working with metal in the building crafts and their products. In this respect attention is given to the wide range of building types housing a shrine such as temple (degah), open shrine (pitha) Buddhist monasteries (baha and bahi), residences of deities (dyahchen, agamchen). The impressive chaityas of Svayambhunatha and Bodhnath have been mentioned as well as and smaller monuments like water fountains with golden spouts, finally ceremonial chariots. The composition of gilt metal elements leads the eye from the pinnacles of temples along to metal roofs with glittering and tinkling eave decoration, to the veils of window grills and shrine gates and finally to various emblems and sculptures mounted on free standing pillars.