Museums in Bhaktapur

National Art gallery
The National Art Gallery which occupies a part of the Bhaktapur Palace was established by the Government of Nepal, Department of Archaeology in 1960. This museum was founded to preserve and showcase traditional paintings of Nepal. The collection may not be very large but includes invaluable paubhas (Nepali religious scroll paintings) and manuscripts that date back centuries and also houses centuries old sculptures.

Stone Art Section
The Stone Art section of the gallery is on the ground floor beside the main entrance of the Gallery. Some stone inscriptions date back to the time of Lichhavi King Shiva Deva and King Yaksha Malla in 1468 A.D. There are some remarkable stone sculptures. The stone sculptures here are mostly from the Bhaktapur area and represent early medieval to medieval stone art of Nepal. The four-faced Shivalinga, Harihar, Surya, Chandrama, Vishnu, Tara, Ardhanariswar and some architectural fragments are worth mentioning. An intriguing piece of sculpture is the stone idol of Harishanker recovered from the temple that was destroyed by the earthquake of 1934. This idol is a combination of Shiva and Vishnu and thus holds symbols of both the gods.   

Painting Section
The first floor is dedicated to paintings both as paubhas and manuscripts. The paubhas in particular are remarkable. Among these, Vasundhara Mandala, Ganesh with Shakti, Mahisa Sambhara, Vajra Yogini and Shiva Viswarupa are of great significance. In the main exhibition hall, there are five showcases in the middle of the room that contain some ancient illustrated manuscripts and covers of immense value. One among them depicts the pilgrimage tour of King Pratap Malla. Some of the other notable artifacts are the manuscripts of 11th  Century Vishnu Dasavatara and the 13th  Century manuscript cover of Shiva Dharma Purana. In this section, there is a rectangular room resembling a corridor, of which the northern wall painting facing south has rows of paintings all with captions depicting Shiva Viswarupa, who is multi-armed and multi-headed. The long corridors showcase watercolors of the aquatic world, mythical dragons, various birds, bulls etc. They are the best representations of medieval folk art of Nepal.  

The Woodcarving Museum, Dattatreya Square
The old Pujari Math has been converted into a Woodcarving Museum and is located at the Dattatreya Square about a ten minute walk from the Durbar Square. The Pujari Math is considered one of the oldest maths (dwelling of a priest) in the Kathmandu Valley. The museum has courtyards decorated with exquisitely carved windows and pillars. The Mara Vijaya, Pooja Devi, Viswaroop and Aryatara are magnificent specimens of woodcarving of the past centuries. The museum was restored some years ago by a German project which has captioned most of the artifacts.  

The Brass & Bronze Museum
The metalwork section known as the Brass & Bronze Museum is housed opposite the Woodcarving Museum. This section showcases brass and bronze metal ware that were extensively used by nobility and their Newar subjects in the previous century and early 20th century. Objects used for religious purposes such as kalash and incense stands are noteworthy. Of much interest are the spittoons used by kings and other noblemen. Religious and ritual objects of the Newar community make up the bulk of the exhibition here.