Araniko

1245 - 1306

Aniko, Anig or Araniko was one of the key figures in the arts of Nepal and Yuan dynasty of China, and the artistic exchanges in these areas. He was born in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, during the reign of Abhaya Malla. He is known for building the White Stupa at the Miaoying Temple in Beijing. During the reign of Jaya Bhim Dev Malla, he was sent on a project to build a golden stupa in Tibet, where he also initiated into monkhood. From Tibet he was sent further to North China to work in the court of the emperor Kublai Khan, the founder of Yuan dynasty, where he brought the trans-Himalayan artistic tradition to China. Araniko led a team of 80 artists to China and Tibet to make a number of pagoda style buildings. In his later life, he renounced monkhood and started a family.
Due to some confusion in translation, his name is variously written as Arniko or Araniko in old texts. A mistake made by Baburam Acharya ascribed his Sanskrit name as Balabahu. However, later he contends that Aniko might possibly be the Chinese pronunciation for Sanskrit name Aneka. It is also plausible that his name could mean Aa Ni Ka, meaning "respectable brother from Nepal".
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