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The Numismatic Museum was formally established in 1962 within the premises of Hanumandhoka Royal palace. It was shifted to the historical building of National Museum which was built by General Bhimsen Thapa as the arsenal depository in 1993 B.S. and was called as chhauni Silkhana. The museum has great collection of brilliant coins including various denomination in a chronological order. The coins of different periods and dynasties of Nepal are representatively displayed in the Museum that also covers a long history of numismatic.
The National Museum has displayed materials from several fields of study. There are all together main buildings, which provide many galleries for the exhibition of artefacts and antiquities. Separate galleries are provided for art, natural history, ancient arms and weapons, portrait painting, ethnology, illicit trafficking etc.
The Art Gallery (Juddha Jatiya Kalashala)
The Art Gallery is located just opposite to the main historical gallery. The architectural style of this building represents typical features in many respects. The building is named as ‘Juddha Jatiya Kalashala’ after the name OD then Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher who had built the building with personal spending in 1999-2000 B.S. This building was the first building constructed for the museum purpose. In the narrative panels of the main entrance, there are beautiful images which reflect the events of nativity of Buddha as explained in the Buddhist jatak literatures. On the upper part of the entrance, there are images depicting the
event of samundramanthan which means churning the ocean based on the Hindu mythological story. As the building was designed for a museum, the main entrance appears to have been a rough copy of torana of Sanchi stupa in India from first century B.C. This building also provides numerous galleries for the exhibition of various Nepalese art forms in stone, terracotta, bronze, wood and painting.
The Buddha Art Gallery
Buddhism was flourished widely and enjoyed great popularity in the mind of Nepalese people from the lowland Tarai to the highland Himalayan range and crossed its boundary and spread all over Asia and become one of the prominent religions of Nepal. Its influence and aspiration can be seen in many archaeological remains, monumental stupas and votive chaityas, an numerous magnificent images recovered from various locations of the country. The Buddhist Art Gallery is here with the spectacular display of rare Buddhist exhibits of archaeological and iconographical importance. It is important to note that the Buddhist Art Gallery was established with the Cultural Grant Program in 1995 and grant assistance for grass roots project (1996) from the government of Japan. It was inaugurated by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino of Japan in 28 th , February 1997.
The interiors of the gallery are well designed. The ground floor has been divided into three sections; the southwest Tarai – the birthplace and palacial area of Lord Buddha, Kathmandu Valley – the center of Buddhism and Northern Himalayan Zone with some Buddhist arts of High Himalayan region. The Terai section contains extremely rare and valuable art and antiquities discovered from the excavation of Lumbini and Kapilvastu. A few of the significant stone, bronzes and wooden sculptures and many ritual objects of the Newar-Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley are displayed in the Kathmandu section. The Northern Himalayan section displays small miniature bronze models of skull shaped cups, purbha, dorje, as the accessories of Buddhist rituals. The first floor is named as the Mandala Gallery, which was specially designed by Prof. Tachikawa, from the Ethnological Museum of Osaka, Japan. The mandala represents a symbolic diagram in Tantric Buddhism, which is considered as ‘universe’ endowed with sacred values. All around the body of mandala, 220 Bodhisattvas are painted in the panel in various colors.