Although Brahma is one of the principal members of the Brahmanical triad, his cult never evolved as that of Vishnu and Shiva, the two great Hindu gods. In the Valley of Kathmandu, there are about eight images of Brahma so far discovered. Among them, Brahma of Rastriya-Nachghar is the oldest, datable to the 3rd century A.D. Two other images of Brahma, one from Chapagaon and the other from Deopatan, can be cited as the finest examples of Licchavi art for their monumentality and majestic splendour.

One image of Brahma was found on the left wall of the road leading to the Mrigasthali forest (Pl. 14) He was shown seated in a yogic posture on a largc lotus with three heads; the rear fourth head was out of view. His upper right hand held a rosary and his left upper hand a manuscript, the symbol of Vedas. His lower left hand carried a waterpot, and his lowcr right hand was damaged. I t was likely that his right hand was held in varadamudra, the gesture of munificence (PI. 15). Together with his chignon, he wore a necklace, a sacred thread, an antelope skin thrown over his left shoulder and a dhoti. The image was carved in high relief with elaborate details, especially in the lotus petals on which Brahma was sitting. On the right of Brahma, two bearded and emaciated sages were represented, each holding a waterpot in the left hand. Most probably, there were figures of sages on the other side of Brahma. The relief was treated with rock formations to represent a mountain hermitage where sages still wander. This charming image was stolen in the early 1980s.

Ramesh Jung Thapa, Ramjham, (vol. 3, 1970) PI. 14.
Babu Krishna Rijal, 1.acchavi Kalin kehi Rrahma ka
Murtiharu, (Some sculptures belonging to 1,icchavi
period), Ancient Nepal, Journal of Department of
Archaeology No. 10, (January, 1970) PI. 5.
Pratapaditya Pal. The Arts ofNepal, Pt. I , Sculpture,
(LeidenIKoln, 1974) Fig. 245.
Mary Shepherd Slusser, Nepal Mandala, Princcton
University Press, (New Jersy, 1982), PI. 589.
Govinda Bhattarai, Murrikala, (Sculpture), Maharajgunj,
(Kathmandu, 1984) PI. 9.
Lain S. Bangdel, 2500 Years of Nepalese Art, VEB A.E.
Seemann Verlag (Leipzig GDR, 1987), PI. 109.


  • Title : Brahma
  • Year : 12th century A.D.
  • Medium : Grey limestone
  • Dimension : Ht. 11 inches
  • Accession No : Stolen in the early 1980's.
  • Country/ Geo-location : Mrigasthali, Pashupati, Kathmandu
  • Museum : Stolen Images of Nepal – Lain S.Bangdel