Our Collections

Terracotta artefacts from the Greater Lumbini Area, in the Lumbini Museum's collection

A centuries-old archaeological collection

Discovered during an archaeological excavation at the site of the Maya Devi temple, this terracotta torana is one of the most important items in the Lumbini Museum's collection. Dated to between the 4th-6th C. CE, it depicts Prince Siddhartha in lalitasana, or the posture of royal ease, beside a sleeping Yasodhara, just prior to his Great Departure.

Archaeological explorations and excavations began in the Greater Lumbini Area from the early 1900s, and some 5,000 artifacts have been found in the Greater Lumbini Area to date. Our collection includes 200 items of terracotta figurines and fragments; stone sculptures, beads and decorated fragments; copper and silver coins; and iron and antimony nails excavated from the Lumbini area. 

The very earliest artefacts date from the 6th C. BCE but the majority of them date from the 1st to 3rd C. CE. We’ve initiated a comprehensive conservation and restoration process, which includes the creation of an inventory, capacity building and advocacy.


Book Cover from a manuscript of the Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra10th–11th century CE.
Picture: Metropolitan Museum of Art
We are working with national museums and local communities in Nepal as well as international museums, and elsewhere and local communities on possible loans, donations and collaborations, to ensure that the Lumbini Museum eventually holds a world-class collection of its own.

Repatriated art

11th C. CE Standing Buddha stolen from a shrine in the Yatkha Tole neighborhood of Kathmandu in 1986, and repatriated to Nepal by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in April 2018.

Scholars estimate that, over the last fifty years, some 80-90% of Nepal’s antiquities including many precious sculptures have been stolen from temples and monasteries and sold to museums and private collectors. Some collectors and institutions are keen to repatriate their stolen collections back to Nepal but insist that these be received by an appropriate site in Nepal with the necessary systems and standards in place i.e. security, climate control and insurance protocols. The Lumbini Museum is thus working to ensure it meets all international systems and standards, so as to facilitate the safe repatriation of these artefacts to their true home.

New Commissions

Picture: Ang Tserin Sherpa
The universality, depth and continued relevance of the Buddha’s teachings have inspired many contemporary artists to interpret ideas such as impermanence, emptiness, duality in new and experiential ways. The museum’s curatorial team looks forward to working closely with contemporary artists and designers to create expressions that would enhance the visitor’s experience of Lumbini and the natal landscape.