Craft in Architecture: Terracotta Bricks

Craft in Architecture: Terracotta Bricks

The making of brick and tiles is among one of the oldest crafts of Nepal. According to the Buddhist manuscript Swayambhoo Puran - which deals with the origin of the Swayambhoo Chaitya in the Kathmandu Valley and the founding of the city of Kathmandu itself by Lord Manjusri - mention is made of brick and tile-making. Archaeology and a study of ancient buildings provide evidence to the excellence achieved during the Kirant, Lichhchhavi, and Malla periods in the history of Nepal. Temples and stupas made of terracotta bricks and belonging to the Malla periods still exist in Nepal, as evidence of the excellent workmanship practised there.

Brick-making from the local clay of the fields is still an important indigenous craft technique and business in Nepal. Since stones are not readily found in the alluvial soil, most buildings here are of brick - the same material that has been used since the earliest times. With great foresight, the Kathmandu city fathers recently passed an ordinance allowing only buildings with brick faces to be built within the city limits.

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