Patan Museum's Intriguing Collection
The Patan Museum can be found located within the beautiful Patan Durbar Square at Keshav Narayan Chowk's residential palace. To get to the museum you first have to enter the Royal Palace grounds, which is where you will find the richly decorated palace complex of Keshav Narayan Chowk. These palaces, situated in the Kathmandu Valley, have for centuries been home to the Malla kings who have always inhabited this region for centuries. The royal grounds have housed the semi-gilded Patan Museum ever since it was first formed in 1734.
Some of the exhibits displayed at the museum are extremely old and go back to the Lichhavi era, which dates back to the eleventh century. The Patan Museum's main collection consists of sacred art pieces and sculptures that have been completed by traditional Nepalese artists. The Museum has over 1,500 objects in its national sacred art collection - a prized possession - but visitors will only have the chance to view two hundred out of all of them. The two hundred that are on permanent display have been carefully chosen so that visitors are given the best examples of artwork that represents the sacred art collection.
This collection is really stunning and is mainly made up of bronze and copper casts. The copper casts displayed at the museum are formed using a process called repousse. 'Repousse' is when the artist uses a hammer to raise the copper metal to form decorations from within. These metal pieces represent both Buddhist and Hindu cultural history using iconology. Iconology is a traditional art form where figures of people are produced not just for their outer beauty but also for what cannot be seen. The sculpture has an enormous amount of symbolic meaning, which tells the person viewing it so much more than what they can just see.
The Patan Museum went through a needed restoration process supported by His Majesty's Government of Nepal. The building had experienced many bad alterations and due to the lack of care and maintenance over the years it was deemed necessary. Some parts of the building were redone and reconstructed to their original form, while other sections of the museum were completely redone. The facilities inside the building were also upgraded and it was finally opened again in 1997. The Patan Museum is definitely worth a visit.