Tahusacha keen to reinstate cast aside 9th century cow sculpture

- Anup Ojha, Sanjaya Lama, Kathmandu

Dec 6, 2018-

Locals of Tahusacha in Jagati, Bhaktapur, have agreed to reinstate the abandoned sculpture of a cow after the Post published a news report about the stone statue that historians believe dates back to the ninth-century. 

A agreement was reached on Wednesday in a meeting between the representatives of Department of Archaeology and locals. Though the department had earlier planned to keep the statue in a museum, Tahusacha locals insisted that the sculpture should be reinstated to its original place. 

“This statue shouldn’t be removed from Tahusacha because the place is named after it. The sculpture’s significance will be lost if it is put in a museum or in another place,” said Ukesh Kanwa, chairman of Bhaktapur Sub-metropolitan City Ward-7.    

They have signed an agreement to place the statue on a podium within two weeks. 

Earlier in the day, the department had sent its representatives to the area to inspect the statue that had been lying by the road side for the past three years. 

After the inspection, the department representatives, including the department’s Bhaktapur branch chief Mohan Singh Lama, held a meeting with locals, and Jagati police and signed the agreement to reinstate the statue. When the Post contacted Bhesh Narayan Dahal, director general of the department, on Tuesday, he had pledged to conserve the ancient sculpture. 

Art historian Suyog Prajapati was among the first person to post the picture of the unattended stone figurine on his Facebook Page. 

Locals say the statue, which was originally placed at a rice paddy near Hanumante River, was transported to its current location after its previous abode was sold for building construction. 

Local historian Binod Raj Rajopadhyaya said the abandoned sculpture is part of the bygone after-death ritual known as “Vrishotsarga” that used to be observed by Newar families. 

In the olden days, the native Newar families of this area used to observe Vrishotsarga on the 44th day of the death of a family member by conducting a marriage ceremony of a cow and a bull. The family would then release the bull in a field while the cow would be offered to the priest who conducted the ritual. 

In order to pacify the bull separated from its mate, the family used to place the stone sculpture of a cow in the field. The sculpture on the road side could very well be built for Vrishotsarga ritual. Similar stone images have been found in the four cardinal directions of Bhaktapur city as well, said Rajopadhyaya. 

When the Post asked Saraswati Singh, chief of the National Art Museum, Bhaktapur, why the statute is not being preserved, she said the museum cannot relocate the artefact without the consent from the head office of the Department of Archaeology.

Published: 06-12-2018 08:23

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