Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


Over the course of a 1,300 year history the Newar art of moulding copper into fine architectural ornaments and full bodied sacred figures has been passed through family lineages and working apprenticeships. Presently the copper repoussé technique has continued to elude a regulated school format instead favoring individual apprenticeships in the workshops and homes of more experienced artists. In a two week short-apprenticeship and study in Sajan Raj Shakya's workshop in Mangchal Tole, Patan I was instructed in the basics of creating copper forms through repoussé and chasing. This experience is documented both in terms of the delineated process for affecting copper sheets, as well as an analysis of my experience from participating in the workshop through the concepts of body techniques (Marcel Mauss 1934) and anthropologies of the body. Observations from the field and conversations with two Newar art masters are used to consider the ways in which bodies are represented in the broader context of Newar art traditions. Ultmately, bodies provide the Newar art tradition with not only the means of production for art, but are involved in the perception of social rules and the communication of ideas across time.


Art and Design | Art and Materials Conservation | Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


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