Page:Picturesque Nepal.djvu/264

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164
THE ARTS OF THE NEWARS

of nature and a fondness for floral forms which are in keeping with the temples they serve to decorate. Flowers are a great feature of the Newar ritual, as they are of most religions of the East. A quotation from an old work, attributed to the Prophet Mahomet, and often referred to by followers of other creeds, may explain one of the reasons of this—

"If you happen to possess one pice
Keep it for buying your daily bread;
But if you are the fortunate possessor of two,
Then spend half to buy a flower.

The fruits and rice sold in the bazaar
Are only to pacify our bodily wants;
But a flower will pacify the Thirst of the Soul,
And it is the only nectar in this Universe."

Conventional foliage, enriched with well-known flowers, and also fruits, is found reproduced in metal and wood on many parts of the sacred buildings of Nepal. Introduced among these floral forms, which may be based on the lotus, the mango, or the pomegranate, are many sacred signs and emblems, each telling its story, or referring to some traditional incident of the past. Each piece of construction has its long and beautiful meaning, and every combination of forms is based on