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The valley of Kathmandu is one of the most concentrated repositories of art and design that exist in the world; it is one of the greatest living art shows imaginable. Nepal has long been famous for quality work. In the past, beautiful bronzes were made, not only for the home market, but for export or sale to pilgrim tourists. Today, exquisite bronze images of the gods and goddesses of the Hindu and Buddhist pantheons are still fashioned and sold.
Early Chinese travellers marvelled at Nepalese architecture with its richly decorated temples, palaces and houses; the Nepalese wood-carver has always excelled in ornately carved windows and roof supports, fashioned in the elegant forms of deities.
It is known that the Nepalese architect, Arniko, took the pagoda style of architecture to neighbouring Tibet and from thence to China in the ninth century. The bronze-casters, scroll painters and silversmiths of the Kathmandu valley were responsible for taking their art to Tibet, and until a couple of decades ago, many Nepali artists were working in Tibet supplying art works for the local market.
The arts of Nepal, with the exception of stone carving, are still very much alive, and in the cities of the valley, master craftsmen, artisans and artists are still fashioning masterpieces, following traditions and using techniques that in many cases stretch back well over a thousand years. Large areas of the city of Patan are given over to the production of art works, and for the adventurous visitor with an interest in arts and crafts, there is always an excellent opportunity to see artists and craftsmen at work in their houses.
The advent of tourism in the late fifties acted as a stimulus to Nepalese arts and crafts, as it brought with it not only a demand for small souvenir. but also for high quality items produced by labour intensive methods that could not be copied by machines anywhere in the world. A fine scroll painting, wood-carving or brass image made in Nepal is something unique and exclusive, and buyers can feel that they have purchased one of a kind. or at least, one of a limited edition.
To preserve the national heritage of Nepal, His Majesty’s Government has banned the export of antiques of all kinds, but for those with taste and interest, there are many beautiful objects and treasures to buy in the bazaars of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Many new bronzes and scroll paintings have been “antiqued”, and in such cases it is better to get a museum clearance from the Department of Archaeology, near the main gate of the Singha Durbar in Kathmandu. Over the past twenty years, the handwoven carpet industry has grown and flourished in Nepal.
The art of carpet weaving was brought from Tibet, but now Nepalese as well as Tibetan designs are available in the market and are extremely popular with tourists and local people. The mighty peaks of the Himalayan ranges are what call many visitors to Nepal in the first place, but nevertheless the beauty of the kingdom’s art and architecture will linger in the minds of many for long after a visit to the valley of Kathmandu. 1. According to the passage, the valley of Kathmandu (A) is a world-famous tourist resort. (B) is a haven for budding artists. C) contains treasures beyond one’s imagination. (D) contains many examples of Nepalese art and design. 2. One can expect a piece of art work from Nepal to be of (A) a low quality. (B) a high quality. (C) inferior quality. (D) indifferent quality 3.
From looking at their art works, we can conclude that the Nepalese people (A) worship many gods and goddesses. (B) believe in only one god. (C) are worshippers of idols. (D) are not religious at all. 4. Nepalese architecture can be described as A) plain. (B) pictorial. (C) modernistic. (D) ornate. 5. Which of these statements is false ? (A) The Nepalese architect Arniko originated the pagoda style of architecture. (B) A Nepalese architect introduced the pagoda style of architecture to the Tibetans. (C) The pagoda style of architecture was introduced into China in the ninth century. (D) The pagoda style of architecture spread to China by way of Tibet. 6. Which of the following art forms is no longer flourishing in Nepal ? (A)
Stone carving (B) Wood-carving C) Scroll painting (D) Carpet weaving 7. In the city of Patan, (A) there are few artists and craftsmen. (B) one cannot satisfy one’s interest in Nepalese arts and crafts. (C) one can visit artists and craftsmen and see them at work. (D) one is lucky if one comes across any artistic activity. 8. According to the passage, tourism (A) made it necessary to mechanize the production of much-demanded items. (B) led tot he increased production of Nepalese art works. (C) had a harmful effect on the quality of Nepalese art works. D) caused a tremendous increase in the prices of high quality items. 9. A piece of art work from Nepal is (A) exactly like others of the same kind. (B) easily obtainable anywhere in the world. (C) very expensive. (D) unusual. 10. Which of these statements is false ? (A) In Nepal, antiques of all kinds are banned from export. (B) Some new works of art have been classified as antiques. (C) To take “antiqued” art objects out of the country, one must get clearance from a museum. (D) The purpose of banning the export of antiques is to
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