Paubha are religious paintings of Buddhist or Hindu figures or scenes originating from Nepal over 1000 years ago. The oldest surviving examples are in museums dating back to the 13th Century. They are mostly associated with the Newar people of central Kathmandu in the Ason area, a lively bustling community with buildings that still look medieval in form. They have their own language sounding more Chinese than Nepali with their own script too. My wife, Champa, is a Newar.
This Paubha is hung in the hall of our home; it is 90cm x 70cm painted on silk and framed behind glass. It was stretched, tied to a frame, and preserved as soon as we received it.
It was a wedding gift to us from Champa’s mother, and we have been married for 45 years. Laxmi was about 75 when she gave it to us having been given to her as a wedding present too, so add on another 50 years of age. Prior to that it was owned by Laxmi’s father for ……. I think you are getting the picture if you’ll pardon the pun!
This Paubha is therefore at least 200 years old and therefore extremely valuable extrinsically. But it is also of great intrinsic value having been handed down as marriage gifts and symbols through many generations of Champa’s family. Almost certainly we would not be permitted to take it out of Nepal today as an antique religious artefact.
Better known are the Tibetan paintings known as Thangka, probably due to the refugee situation of Tibetans and the work of the Dalai Lama. But remember that Buddha was born in Nepal, not India as some history books will tell you, and the Thangka tradition of painting is a copy of the Newar movement, probably following the invitation of Newar artists to go to Tibet in the 5th Century.
If you would like to learn more this is a good website Arts of Nepal