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Licchavi is a name for an ancient Indic people. In the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni (sixth-fifth century BCE), the Licchavis inhabited the northern bank of the Ganges river in the area around the city of Vaishali, their capital. In the mid-fifth century CE, a branch of the Licchavis formed a dynasty in the Kathmandu Valley, and ruled there until the mid-ninth century, retaining close ties with Indian kingdoms and establishing close cultural, trade, and diplomatic relationships with both Tibet and China. The Licchavi period is known as the earliest great age of Nepalese art, with many Buddhist and Hindu bronzes and stone sculptures surviving today.