In these volumes Mary Slusser has documented and illustrated the origins and evolution of the remarkable Nepalese civilization that evolved in the Kathmandu Valley - known for much of its long history as "Nepal Mandala." The author's narrative, 600 plates, 29 figures, and 9 detailed color maps grew out of more than a decade of research. She studied and photographed the sculptures and shrines, mapped the old cities and traced their long-fallen walls, attended festivals, and collected legends and folklore, Because of religious conservatism she could not excavate, but thanks to centuries of isolation that ended only in 1951. "surface archaeology" proved a very rewarding substitute.
Equally rewarding were Nepali language sources, impeccable studies heretofore neglected by Western scholars. Using them, it was possible to bring to light a political history that agreed with what art and anthropology revealed, a cultural continuum at variance with the political history familiar in Western languages. Dr. Slusser's meticulously researched work represents the first comprehensive interpretation of the cultural history of the Kathmandu Valley since Sylvain Levi's seminal study almost a century ago. Mary Shepherd Slusser holds a doctorate in anthropology and archaeology from Columbia University.