By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, May 4: A Swiss citizen named Ulrich Von Schroeder visited Nepal recently with the documentation of Nepalese Stone Sculptures. The 78-year-old had first visited the country in 1965. Prior to that, he had come to India from Switzerland. Fascinated by the arresting stone sculptures, he has visited the country more than 50 times ever since to learn more about them. His visits have now culminated in the publication of two comprehensive books on Nepalese Buddhist and Hindu stone sculptures. Each of them features their short descriptions, iconography, style, date, location, among others. Talking with The Rising Nepal at the garden of Museum of Nepali Art in Thamel, Kathmandu, Schroeder said, “These two volumes about the stone sculptures are gifts to Nepal. I have published them because I am really concerned about how much damage the sculptures have witnessed in the last 50 or so years; some have been reduced to pieces; others stolen. For me, it is not important where these images are now. What is important to me, however, is that we have their proper documentation." He further said there are a total of some 2,000 documentations and illustrations in two volumes, and some 15,000 digital photographs of Nepalese sculpture and other artifacts stored in a memory device. The book and photographs in the memory device are useful for the future generation and other researchers wanting to study about the Nepalese stone sculptures, he said. Pointing to the importance of the books in coming years, Schroeder said, “These materials may not be important in present days, but before long people will want to know about their arts and cultures. This is when the books will come in handy.” He found that some of the stone sculptures that he saw in his first visit have now been stolen. He has gifted the books to a handful of Nepali scholars and concerned government bodies. Sunil Dangol, a photographer at Hamumandhoka Durbar Museum Development Committee who has been working with Schroeder since 2012, said that the documented photographs in the book are mostly collected from Kathmandu Valley. “I have provided him with very rare and historically important photos,” Dangol said. “The stone sculptures of Lokeshwor Kuleshwor, stone sculptures of Surya of Teku Dhovan and Umamaheshwar which haven’t been published before have now been mentioned in the books,” Schroeder stressed. He added that many collected photographs of Lain Singh Bangdel, Nepal’s foremost artist, novelist and art historian, have also been documented in the two volumes. “Government should do more to preserve and promote its historically important stone sculptures which are not just invaluable but are also inextricably linked with its identity,” he concluded.