Sunday, June 23, 2019

Pulligoda Galge

Pulligoda Galge paintings
Pulligoda Galge (or Pulligoda Archaeological site) is a rock shelter containing a series of paintings depicting the great tradition of art of the Anuradhapura period (377 B.C. - 1017 A.D.). It is located about 3 km south to the Dimbulagala Raja Maha Viharaya in Polonnaruwa District, Sri Lanka.

Painting fragments
A series of fragmentary remains of old paintings in Pulligoda cave was first reported in 1897, by H. C. P. Bell (De Silva, 1990; Dhanapala, 1964).

The main painting fragment is about five feet in length and in a fair state of preservation (Wijesekara, 1947). It consists of five haloed male figures seated on a broad seat. The plaster around the figures has fallen, thus the theme of the painting is not clear. The figures probably depict deities engaged in worship and offering (Wijesekara, 1947).

The Pulligoda paintings have been done on a thin layer of lime plaster applied on the cave wall (De Silva, 1990). White, yellow, red, light green and brown are the major pigments used. The background is white and the figures have been emphasized with outline drawings. The figures are drawn in an attitude of veneration (De Silva, 1990). The first four figures from left are in the act of worship while the most right figure holds a garland in both hands (Wijesekara, 1947). The upper bodies are naked but carry ornaments such as necklaces, armlets, bracelets and breast strings across the shoulder (Wijesekara, 1947). The lower bodies are covered with striped garments. Each figure is sitting on an open lotus resting on a decorated seat.

Few details of similar figures are also found on a separated fragment of the same cave (De Silva, 1990).

Dating
Vincent Smith and Coomaraswamy who studied the paintings in the Pulligoda cave have dated the work to the 7th century A.D. (Coomaraswamy, 1927; Wijesekara, 1947). S. Paranavitana in the opinion that these paintings are belonged to a period earlier than 12th century (De Silva, 1990). R. N. De Silva thinks that Pulligoda paintings have similarities to those of the early or middle Anuradhapura period and hence has dated them to a period closer to the 7th century A.D. (De Silva, 1990). De Silva have dated these paintings to the 4th century A.D. (De Silva, 1990).

Attribution
1) Old historical paintings of Sri Lanka Pulligoda Arechaeological Site by Avon Pubudu is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Coomaraswamy, A.K., 1927. History of Indian and Indonesian art (p. 1965). New York: Dover publications. p.163.
2) Dhanapala, D.B., 1964. Buddhist paintings from Shrines and Temples in Ceylon. New American Library of World Literature by arrangement with UNESCO.
3) De Silva, R., 1990. Painting (Early period 247 B.C. to 800 A.D.). Nandadeva W. (Editor in chief), Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series (Vol. V). Painting. pp. 29-30.
4) Wijesekara, N., 1945. Early Sinhalese Paintings. A thesis submitted for the Ph. D. of the Culcutta University. pp.35,117.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 23 June 2019

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