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Nepalese Seasons: Rain and Ritual

Rubin Museum of Art

Monsoon is a local phenomenon of the South Asian subcontinent and does not extend to the other sides of the Himalayas. The Kathmandu Valley, the center of Nepalese art and culture, is located on the southern slope of the Himalayas. Just as in the other part of South Asia, agriculture is dependednt mainly on monsoon rain (June – August or July – September).

Monsoon rain is, however, unpredictable. Many times, the failure of seasonal rains has created devastating famine. Throughout history, people endeavored to solve the problem many different ways. Vedic people, just like the Newars of the valley, worshipped the frogs, assuming that the croaking sound of the frogs brings rain. Astrologers predicted the rain with their observation of the appearance of aquatic creatures in the cloudspace. Artists created auspicious rain symbols believing that the sight of the symbols affects nature and human life, all of which demonstrate the relationship of art to the rainy season and the festivals and rituals structured around it.

This book, written for the Rubin Museum by renowned scholar Gautama V. Vajracharya, explores the relationships of the well-known deities, their festivals and rituals that are believed to affect nature and ensure the arrival of timely monsoon. The festivals and rituals also celebrate a successful harvest, preserve the continuity of their life sustaining cycles, and support the worship of the deities to guarantee well-being and personal development of the worshipers. 

By Gautama V. Vajracharya


Published: Rubin Museum of Art, New York (May 2016)

Format: HC, 218 pages

Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 12.25 x 0.9 inches

ISBN: 978-0-9912231-0-4


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