Dina Bangdel has many faces including writer, lecturer and artist. But this time she was in Kathmandu as an editor, rushing home from the US to ensure that the last works of her late father, artist and historian Lain Singh Bangdel, were properly edited and distributed.
Lain Singh Bangdel wrote Jay Verma ko Murti and Nepal ko Verma Banksh during the last few years of his life and in them he claims that the Verma dynasty ruled Nepal in the fifth century before the Lichhavis. Bangdel based this claim on a statue of Jay Verma found in Maligaun in Kathmandu and the argument has triggered a new debate among historians about this period in Nepali history.
Before working on these volumes, Dina had edited her father's earlier work, Inventory Of Stone Sculptures Of The Kathmandu Valley. She says, "I just want to honour my father's deep and overwhelming love for his country."
Dina worked with John Huntington on the book The Circle Of Bliss, Buddhist Meditational Art, which took five years to complete and established her as an expert on Buddhist iconography in her own right. The book documents 160 Buddhist statues from Nepal, India, Mongolia, Tibet and China which were on display at the Los Angeles County Museum for five months in 2003-04.
Dina is currently teaching Buddhist art at Ohio State University and is unhappy that although people in the west are really curious about Buddhist artistry and culture, Indian and Tibetan works have overshadowed Nepali Buddhist religious art. She says her mission in life is to promote Nepali devotional art and makes it a habit to tell people that the roots of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist art are here in Nepal. Like father, like daughter.