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, and 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 28th, 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 Tarai 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.