Gedige Image House (Anuradhapura)

Gedige Image House
This is a vaulted (Gedige) image house located in the citadel of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

This building is identified as an image house of Buddhist tradition but presently, no evidence of the image of the Buddha is available. Also, the founder of this building is not known. However, with the help of the masons' mark found in "Building A" (see the "Building" section below) this edifice has been dated to the 8 century A.D. (Paranavitana, 1936).

The building was first noticed in 1886 by Burrows and was cleared by H.C.P. Bell in 1897 (Paranavitana, 1936).

This is a rectangular building with an upper storey (Paranavitana, 1936). This image house's walls and roof have been completely built out of bricks and, therefore, known as a Gedige (Pali: Ginjakavasatha) type image house. However, the original brick vaulted roof of the image house no longer exists. It is evident from the remains that the vaulted roof of the image house was resting on 4-7 feet thick brick walls. The door and window frames used for the building have been built with granite.

Architectural analyses have revealed that this structure has elements related to Pallava architecture. 

A similar building - "Building A"
Another building with a similar plan was found adjacent to the Gedige building and has been named "Building A" (Bandaranayake, 1974; Paranavitana, 1936). In the inner room (the sanctum) of this "Building A" is an Asana (a platform) faced with moulded slabs of stones and one of them had a masons' mark read as "uturudese"= north side (Paranavitana, 1936). With the help of this mason's mark, this building has been dated to the 8th century (Paranavitana, 1936). 

"Building A" is much more preserved than the Gedige building (Paranavitana, 1936). The plan, the construction level, and other components of these two buildings are apparently similar and therefore, scholars such as Paranavitana think that these two structures are works belonging to the same date (Paranavitana, 1936).

See also
#) Gedige Image House, Matale

1) Sri Lanka Trip -26 by Weldon Kennedy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1) Bandaranayake, S., 1974. Sinhalese monastic architecture: the Viharas of Anuradhapura (Vol. 4). Brill. p.205. 
2) Paranavitana, S., 1936. The excavation in the Citadel of Anuradhapura. Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. Vol. III. Ceylon Government Press. Colombo. pp.1-2,5-7.

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This page was last updated on 14 January 2023

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