Buddhism and Sri Lanka

According to Sri Lankan chronicles, Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. by Arhant Mahinda, during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa.

Sri Lankan Inscriptions

The earliest trace of epigraphy in South Asia is said to be found in Sri Lanka. A piece of pottery, dated to circa the 4th century B.C. has been discovered from the Anuradhapura citadel.

Architecture of Sri Lanka

The architecture of Sri lanka has a long history and shows diversed forms and styles, mainly infuenced by their religions and traditional beliefs.

Sri Lankan Antiquities

Inherited from the past, Sri Lanka has a large number of antiques with cultural and historical significance which reflects the glory of past era.

Visit Sri Lanka

Located in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island blessed with a large number of attractons which has made the country an ideal destination for the tourism.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Star of India (gem)

Star of India is world-famous blue star sapphire originating from Sri Lanka. . 

It is a light-blue gray stone of 563 carats [(112.6 g) Grande & Augustyn, 2009; Hagan, 2018]. The milky quality and star effect of the stone are due to the effect of rutile mineral that presenting in the gem. Tiny rutile fibers in a three-fold pattern can reflect incoming light as a star and this effect is called asterism. The stone has stars on the both sides which is extremely rare for this size of sapphire.

Originated in the Earth 2 billions years ago the gem is said to have been mined in Sri Lanka in the 16th century. It was given to the museum in 1900 by J.P. Morgan, an American financier and banker. Presently, it is housed in the American Natural History Museum, New York City (Grande & Augustyn, 2009).

On 29 October 1964, the stone several other gems were stolen from the museum by Jack Murphy (alias Murph the Surf) and two other men (Hagan, 2018). It was recovered from a locker in Miami bus terminal and handed over to the museum within two days (Murphy, 1985). Thieves were also arrested (Murphy, 1985).  

Sri Lanka is famous for its gemstones since ancient times. However, this stone has been given a name that does not relate to Sri Lanka, the country of origin. 

Attribution

References
1) Grande, L. and Augustyn, A., 2009. Gems and gemstones: timeless natural beauty of the mineral world. University of Chicago Press. p.63.
2) Hagan, F.E. and Daigle, L.E., 2018. Introduction to criminology: Theories, methods, and criminal behavior. Sage Publications. p.267.
3) Murphy, E., 1985. Murph the Surf. Spin. Vol. 1, No. 3. pp.50-51.

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Hambantota Lighthouse

Hambantota Lighthouse is one of lighthouses in Sri Lanka. It is located in Hambantota tower hill area near the Martello Tower.

History
The lighthouse was constructed in 1926 (McCall, 1999). It was operational until the light is extinguished in 1977 (National Geospatial-intelligence Agency, 2005).

A protected monument
The Lighthouse at Towerhill road in Hambantota town west No. 09 village situated in Grama Niladhari Division, Hambantota in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Hambantota is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 24 March 2016. 

References
1) McCall, M.K., 1999. The Martello tower in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Fort Vol.27. pp.143-157.
2) National Geospatial-intelligence Agency, 2005. Prostar Sailing Directions 2005 India & Bay of Bengal Enroute. ProStar Publications. 2005. p. 87
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1960. 24 March 2016 .p.227.

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Martello Tower, Hambantota

The Martello Tower in Hambantota is a historical tower of the early British colonial era in southern Sri Lanka. It is the oldest structure dating from the British period in Hambantota District and the only example of this fortification type in the country (McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015).

History
Martello Towers
Martello towers were built by the British in a number of their territories in the world after 1796 as a part of their military strategies. The name as well as the basic plan of these towers are related to a round tower at "Mortella" Point in Corsica, which was garrisoned by the French National Army (Wisumperuma, 2015). During the battle of San Fiorenzo in February 1794, the British troops under Sir David Dundas were impressed by its remarkable technical capabilities and strength (McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015). The British, after go through a study, adapted a tower of this type for their military purposes after 1796 (McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015). Subsequently, they built them in Cape Town, Nova Scotia (1796), St. Helena (1797), Minorca (1798), Scilly Isles on St. Mary's (1803), Ireland (1804), and England (more than one hundreds were built along the south coast of England during 1805-1812), Sierra Leone (between 1805-1807), Mauritius (1834), and Delhi [(c.1824) McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015]. The towers came to know by the name Martello, an anglicized form of the French word "Mortella" (Wisumperuma, 2015).

Hambantota Martello Tower
Following the unsuccessful attack by Kandyan insurgents in 1803, the tower is thought to have been built as a defense structure to face attacks from the landside as well as from the ocean (Wisumperuma, 2015). The idea to built this tower in Hambantota was come from Major General D.D. Wemyss, the then Commander of the Forces in Ceylon (Wisumperuma, 2015). He ordered Lt. William Gosset of the Royal Engineers to built a round tower to accommodate fifty people (Wisumperuma, 2015). The 1806 diary note of Sir Alexander Johnston mentions that the tower was built by Captain Goper of the Engineers (McCall, 1999). 

The tower is said to have been built on the site of a Dutch stronghold (McCall, 1999). The exact construction date of this tower is not known mainly due to the lack of records (McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015). However, the first record about its existence is found in a diary note from 1806 written by Sir Alexander Johnston, the acting Chief Justice (McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015). Scholars suggest its construction date to a time between 1796-1803 (Wisumperuma, 2015). According to Wisumperuma, the construction of the tower commenced after September 1804, and was still under construction in May 1805 (Wisumperuma, 2015).

The tower was first used as a fort and then it became a building under the Public Work Department (Wisumperuma, 2015). During the World War II (1939-1945), it was used for the military purposes (Wisumperuma, 2015). However, the tower finally fell into a state of abandoned for many years until the Department of Archaeology, funded by the NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation), initiated essential repairs in the early 1990s (McCall, 1999). 

Popular belief
The popular belief was that this tower was built by the Dutch who had the control of the area in the 17th and 18th centuries (Wisumperuma, 2015). The Hambantota Lakara, a Sinhala book published in 1916 mentions the tower as a Dutch fortification (Wisumperuma, 2015).

The tower
Built on a small hill, it is a two-storied round gun-tower (Wisumperuma, 2015). It is 25 feet tall and has a circumference of 120 feet 4 inches with a diameter of 38 feet (McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015). The thickness of the vertical wall is 4 feet (McCall, 1999; Wisumperuma, 2015). The roof is flat and the tower is surrounded by a circumferential platform. It appears that this tower has not been tested for any enemy attacks (Wisumperuma, 2015).

A protected monument
The Martello tower at Towerhill road in Hambantota town west No. 09 village situated in Grama Niladhari Division, Hambantota in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Hambantota is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 24 March 2016. 

References
1) McCall, M.K., 1999. The Martello tower in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Fort Vol.27. pp.143-157.
2) Wisumperuma, D., 2015. The Date of the Martello Tower in Hambantota. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, pp.62-76. 
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1960. 24 March 2016 .p.227.

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Coconut Tree Hill, Mirissa

Coconut Tree Hill, Mirissa
The Coconut Tree Hill is a coconut estate located by the side of Mirissa beach, in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

It is a small hill covered with coconut trees and tourists have to walk a bit to reach the place from the Galle Road. The unique and the spectacular view it possess have made this spot famous among the locals as well as the foreign tourists. It is also one of the most popular backgrounds for photoshoots in Sri Lanka.

In January 2021, a fence had been constructed across the hill by its landowner. However, it was removed following the social media outrage and the involvements of politicians.

Attribution
1) Sri Lanka by Sergei Gussev is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Star of Bombay

Star of Bombay
Star of Bombay is world-famous cabochon-cut star sapphire originating from Sri Lanka. The size, well-defined star, and deep blue color of this stone have made it one of the world's great star sapphires. 

It is a corundum (Al2O3) stone of 182 carats (36.4 g). It was given as a gift to silent film actress Mary Pickford by her husband Douglas Fairbanks Sr (Leavey, 2011). She bequeathed it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington sometime before her death in 1979 (Leavey, 2011). Presently, it is housed in the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of Natural History. 

Sri Lanka is famous for its gemstones since ancient times. However, this stone has been given a name that does not relate to Sri Lanka, the country of origin. Its name Star of Bombay hints at the name of a major city in India.  


References
1) Leavey, P.D., 2011. Mary Pickford: Canada’s Silent Siren, America’s Sweetheart (Vol. 30). Dundurn. p.189. 

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Maduganga Estuary

The Madu-Ganga Wetland (or Maduganga Mangrove Estuary) is a small and relatively shallow brackish coastal aquatic system situated in the Galle District, Sri Lanka. Due to the high biodiversity and ecological values it possesses, Madu-Ganga was declared as Ramsar Convention site in 2003, and the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka named it a sanctuary in 2006 (Alagan & Aladuwaka, 2014; Marasinghe et al., 2021; Ratnayake et al., 2017). Presently, the area is popular as a nature-based tourist destination. 

Location
Madu-Ganga Wetland belongs to two Divisional Secretariats namely, Balapitiya and Karandeniya of Galle Districts (Bambaradeniya et al., 2002). The falls within the South-Western Lowland Wet Zone of Sri Lanka and hence experiences a perennially wet climate (Bambaradeniya et al., 2002). The average annual temperature of the area is around 27ºC, and the average annual precipitation is around 2500 mm (Ratnayake et al., 2017). 

Formation
It is formed of two shallow water bodies: (1) Madu Ganga, which is the primary water body, and (2) the Randombe Lake, which is relatively smaller than Madu Ganga (Alagan & Aladuwaka, 2014). The central basin of the wetland is mainly fed by three tributary rivers; Boralessa Ela, Heen Ela, and Magala Ela (Bambaradeniya et al., 2002). The wetland is extending in an area of about 915 ha, of which 770 ha consist of open water (Bambaradeniya et al., 2002; Marasinghe et al., 2021). A total of 15 islands (145 ha of total land area) are surrounded by water throughout the year (Bambaradeniya et al., 2002; Marasinghe et al., 2021). The wetland is opened to the Indian Ocean by a narrow and short entrance channel (Ratnayake et al., 2017). Periodic geomorphological changes are observable at this channel throughout the year (Ratnayake et al., 2017). 
 
Flora & Fauna
Madu-Ganga has a rich biodiversity. The wetland consists of 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families (Amarathunga et al., 2010; Ratnayake et al., 2017). The total plant species comprise 19 endemics, 8 nationally threatened species, and 9 invasive alien species (Amarathunga et al., 2010; Ratnayake et al., 2017). Local vegetation of the wetland is dominated by mangrove swamps (Ratnayake et al., 2017). Thick mangrove vegetation is found along the northern and northwestern banks of Madu-Ganga, at the lagoon mouth, and on a majority of the islands (Bambaradeniya et al., 2002). 

A total of 248 species of vertebrate fauna, belonging to 121 families have been recorded from Maduganga (Amarathunga et al., 2010; Bambaradeniya et al., 2002). These included 20 species of endemics, while 30 species are nationally threatened (Amarathunga et al., 2010; Bambaradeniya et al., 2002). The wetland supports over 111 bird species, including 13 migratory species (Marasinghe et al., 2021). 

References
1) Alagan, R. and Aladuwaka, S., 2014. Participatory geographic information systems for environmental zoning plan: Case Study of the Madu Ganga estuary, Sri Lanka. In Voices of Globalization. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. pp.217-232. 
2) Amarathunga, A.A.D., Sureshkumar, N., Weerasekara, K.A.W.S., Wickramaarachchi, W.D.N. and Azmy, S.A.M., 2010. Study the effect of salinity and nutrients for the growth of Najas marina and its impact to aquatic biodiversity in Madu Ganga Ramsar Wetland in Sri Lanka. In Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium (Vol. 15). 
3) Bambaradeniya, C.N., Ekanayake, S.P., Kekulandala, L.D.C.B., Fernando, R.H.S.S., Samarawickrama, V.A.P. and Priyadharshana, T.G.M., 2002. An assessment of the status of biodiversity in the Maduganga mangrove estuary. Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka, 1, p.1. 
4) Marasinghe, S., Perera, P., Simpson, G.D. and Newsome, D., 2021. Nature-based tourism development in coastal wetlands of Sri Lanka: An Importance–Performance analysis at Maduganga Mangrove Estuary. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 33, pp.1-12. 
5) Ratnayake, A.S., Dushyantha, N., De Silva, N., Somasiri, H.P., Jayasekara, N.N., Weththasinghe, S.M., Samaradivakara, G.V.I., Vijitha, A.V.P. and Ratnayake, N.P., 2017. Sediment and physicochemical characteristics in Madu-ganga Estuary, southwest Sri Lanka. J Geol Soc Sri Lanka, 18, pp.43-52. 

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Statue of Tara Devi, British Museum

Statue of Tara Devi The Statue of Tara Devi is an 8th-century gilt-bronze sculpture of the goddess Tara discovered from Sri Lanka. Presently, it is on the display at the British Museum, United Kingdom.

Statue of Tara from the British Museum

Museum number : 1830,0612.4
Cultures / periods: Buddhist / Anuradhapura
Production date   : 8th-century A.D. (circa)
Production place : Sri Lanka
Materials               : Bronze, gold
Technique             : gilded cast
Dimensions          : Height: 143 cm (not including plinth) 
                                 Width  : 44 cm 
                                 Depth  : 29.50 cm
Exhibition history: 1. 'The Art of Ancient Sri Lanka': exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute, London                                             (17 Jul to 13 Sep 1981)  
                                 2.'Buddhism: Art and Faith': temporary exhibition at the British Museum, London (1985)  
                                 3. 'A History of the World in 100 Objects', London, BM/BBC (2010-2011)
Subjects                : Bodhisattva deity 
Associated names: Tārā
Reference              : British Museum Collection (1830,0612.4)

Tara Devi
Tara Devi is considered the most beloved goddess of the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon (Jayawardene, 2016). She started to appear in the society of Sri Lanka around the seventh or eighth century A.D. and was worshipped until the fifteenth century A.D. (Jayawardene, 2016). Evidence for Tara worship in Sri Lanka is found in the Mihintale Slab Inscriptions of Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.) where she is referred to as goddess Mininal (Gunawardana, 2019; Jayawardene, 2016; Wickremasinghe, 1912). The largest figure of Tara in the country is found in Buduruwagala (Gunawardana, 2019).

The statue
This solid-cast, gilt bronze statue of Tara Devi is 1.43 m tall and is in the Abhanga pose (Jayawardene, 2016). It has a Jatamakuta (a high tubular coiffure) held in place by Makaras. It had been garnished with stones but they are no more available. The empty niche in the front of the Jatamakuta would have contained a small seated image of the Buddha. The upper body is completely naked and the lower body dressed with a flimsy cloth tightly knotted at the hips. The waist is small and the breasts are round. The right hand is in the Varada Mudra while the left hand is in the Katakahasta Mudra (Gunawardana, 2019; Jayawardene, 2016). The two middle fingers of the right hand are missing as are toes from both feet. 

Some scholars had misunderstood this statue, to be the statue of the goddess Pattini (Coomaraswamy, 1909; Gunawardana, 2019). However, it is now identified as a statue of Tara. It probably stood inside a temple, with her male consort, Avalokiteshvara, but his image has not survived. Scholars have dated this statue to about the 8th century A.D. of the Anuradhapura Period (Gunawardana, 2019; Jayawardene, 2016).

A looted statue?
Discovery
The findspot of the statue is not certainly known (Jayawardene, 2016). However, it is said to have been found from somewhere on the east coast of the country between Batticaloa and Trincomalee (Gunawardana, 2019). 

To the British Museum
The was removed from Ceylon (present Sri Lanka) in 1820 by the then Governor of Ceylon, Sir Robert Brownrigg (Jayawardene, 2016). Brownrigg was a soldier and he was made a Baronet in 1816 and a General in 1819 in recognition of his conquest of Sri Lanka's last kingdom, the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815 which resulted in the subjugation of the entire island to British rule (Jayawardene, 2016). It is supposed that Brownrigg uncovered the statue on the country's eastern coast and subsequently brought it to Britain (Howland et al., 2016). However, according to Sri Lankan officials, it had been wrongfully seized by Brownrigg from the collection of the last king of Kandy, Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe [(1798-1815 A.D.) Howland et al., 2016]. 

The statue was handed over to the British Museum in 1830 by Brownrigg's wife (Jayawardene, 2016). In the 1980s, she was accorded pride of place in the museum's South Asia Gallery (Jayawardene, 2016).

Repatriation Denied
Despite the 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions, attempts to repatriate objects plundered in centuries past have frequently failed (Howland et al., 2016). The statue of Tara Devi is an example for one such object (Greenfield, 1996; Howland et al., 2016).

Sri Lankan authorities identify this statue as a treasure removed from their country (Howland et al., 2016). In 1937, the Government of Ceylon under British rule made an official request to the British Museum to return the statue back to its original country but it was denied (Jayawardene, 2016). In 1980, the Sri Lankan Goverment made an official approach to the British Government for the return of specific objects in their museums (Greenfield, 1996). However, it became fruitless when the British Government refused to hand over them in 1981 (Greenfield, 1996). 

A replica for Sri Lanka 
A plaster cast of the statue was donated later to the  Colombo National Museum by the British Museum (Jayawardene, 2016). In 2004, the cast was replaced by a bronze statue (Jayawardene, 2016). Today this replica is being displayed at the Anuradhapura Gallery of Colombo Museum.


References
1) Coomaraswamy, A.K., 1909. Mahayana Buddhist images from Ceylon and Java. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 41(2), pp.283-297.
2) Greenfield, J., 1996. The return of cultural treasures. Cambridge University Press. pp.131-132.
3) Gunawardana, N., 2019. Identify the statues of Goddess Tārā in Sri Lanka and Evaluate the Importance with Trade. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 9(9), pp.404-410.
4) Howland, D., Lillehoj, E. and Mayer, M. eds., 2016. Art and Sovereignty in Global Politics. Springer. pp.148-149
5) Jayawardene, S., 2016. Sri Lanka's Tārā Devī. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 61(2), pp.1-30.
6) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. p.103.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Basavakkulama Rock Inscription of Mahanama

The Basavakkulama Rock Inscription of King Mahanama is a rock-cut record discovered from Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

Discovery
As mentioned in the Anual Administration report of the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: 1952, the inscription was discovered incised on a rock in a private land located about a quarter of a mile to the north of the spill of Basavakkuḷama Wewa (Abhaya Wewa) at Anuradhapura (Paranavitana, 1960; Ranawella, 2009). The discovery is said to be made by Rev. Pandit T. Sri Dipananda Thera of Bharatindrasrama, Anuradhapura (Paranavitana, 1960).

Readings
The inscription was first published in 1960 by Senarath Paranavitana as part of an article dealing with the History of Sri Lanka entitled "New Light on the Buddhist Era in Ceylon and Early Sinhalese Chronology" (Paranavitana, 1960). He had dated the record to the reign of King Upatissa I [(c.370-410 A.D.) Paranavitana, 1960]. However, by pointing out the Paranavitana's reading as a fabrication, it was again published by Sirimal Ranawella in 2009, where he showed that it is a record of the reign of King Mahanama [(410-432 A.D.) Ranawella, 2009].

Content
The inscription has been engraved on a rock surface, covering an area of 4 feet 7 inches by 2 feet 9 inches in 11 lines of writing (Paranavitana, 1960). The record refers to a monastery named Nekari ve(he)ra founded by King Mahanama and the granting of some villages and lands to that monastery by him (Ranawella, 2009).

References
1) Paranavitana, S., 1960. New Light on the Buddhist era in Ceylon and early Sinhalese chronology. University of Ceylon Review, Vol. XVIII, No.3& 4, 1960 pp. 129-155.
2) Ranawella, S., 2009. A Revised Edition of the Basavakkuḷma Rock Inscription of King Mahānāma (410-432). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 55, pp.17-22.

Location Map

Only the location of the Basavakkulama Wewa has been given below;
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Mayilagastota Pillar Inscription of Kassapa V

The Mayilagastota Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa V is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. 

The pillar
The pillar was discovered by J. H. Dawson, an irrigation officer from a location in Mayilagastota village in Hambantota District (Ranawella, 1987; Ranawella, 2005; Wickremasinghe, 1928). It was later brought to the present location for conservation.

The inscription has been engraved on three sides of a quadrilateral pillar [(6 feet by 10 inches by 6.5 inches) Ranawella, 2005]. The first two sides contain thirty-four lines each and the third side has twelve lines of writing (Ranawella, 2005).

Content
The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the 10th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2005). It is not dated in a regnal year of a king but from the other facts, scholars have dated this inscription to the reign of King Kassapa V [(914-923 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the record was to register a grant of certain immunities in respect of a village named Kapugama which had been dedicated to some Pirivena attached to a monastery named Maha Vehera (probably Tissamaharama) by a prince named Apa Mihindu, a son of a king styled Abha Salamevan and a queen named Sang-gon (Ranawella, 1987; Ranawella, 2005).

References
1) Ranawella, S., 1987. Mayilagastota Pillar Inscription. Rohana Research Journal: Vol.2. pp.61-68.
2) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.64-69.
3) Wickremasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon (Vol, II). Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford. pp.57-63.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Bhatika Statue, Ruwanweliseya

A standing rock-cut statue which is believed to be that of King Bhatika [alias Bhatikabhaya (20 B.C.-9 A.D.)] or Bhatiya Tissa [translated into Pali as Bhatika Tissa (141-165 A.D.)] is found in the compound of Ruwanweliseya Stupa in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. According to the opinion of scholars, this statue can be classed as one of the oldest and most significant creations in the history of sculpture in the country (Vanarathana, 1990).

This statue was discovered among the other ruins of Ruwanweliseya. It had been broken into three parts at the time of its discovery (Vanarathana, 1990).

Legends
According to Mahavamsa, Bhatika (20 B.C.-9 A.D.) was an extremely pious king (Mahavamsa; ch.XXXIV:37-67). One day, due to the pressure of work, he couldn't arrive at the usual time to worship the Ruwanweliseya Stupa (Vanarathana, 1990). When he came there later, he heard a sound of Pirith-chanting coming from inside the dome of the Stupa (Vanarathana, 1990). Believing it as a chanting by Arahants, he lay down on the Stupa terrace and determined not to rise until he was able to see it (Vanarathana, 1990). Arahants who realized the intention of the king brought him inside the dome and showed him the treasures deposited therein (Vanarathana, 1990).

Folklore says that this statue has been constructed to commemorate this miraculous event (Vanarathana, 1990).

Opinions
The costume and jewelry worn by the statue indicate that this is a representation of a royal person. The upper body is naked but ornamented with necklaces and bangles. The hands are in the posture of the Anjali-Mudra (Vanarathana, 1990).

According to some scholars, the form of this statue is very much similar to the Yaksha figure at Parkham (India) belonging to the B.C. period (Vanarathana, 1990). According to Senarath Paranavitana, there is a short legend written in a very ancient Brahmi script, which read as "Tisa Maha Raja" at the foot of this statue (Vanarathana, 1990). However, some read it as "Maha Rajaha ma(luthisa)" and believe that it is the statue of King Mali Tisa [translated into Pali as Kanittha Tissa (165-193 A.D.)], not Bhatiya Tissa [(141-165 A.D) Hettiarachchi, 1990].
 
References
1) Hettiarachchi, A.S., 1990. Investigation of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th century inscriptions. Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series: Vol. II: Inscriptions p.61.
2) Vanarathana, K., 1990. Sculpture and carvings of Sri Lanka from the 1st to 5th century A.D. Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series: Vol. IV: Sculpture.p.34.

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Negama Pillar Inscription (lost)

The Negama Pillar Inscription was an inscription set up in Negama village in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

The inscription
Negama is predominantly a Muslim village and the inscription was standing on the premises of Negama Mosque (Bell, 1895; Fernando, 1990; Wickremasinghe, 1928). H.C.P. Bell, the then Archaeological Commissioner had examined the pillar in 1895 (Bell, 1895). D.M.D.Z. Wickremasinghe published a comprehensive article regarding this inscription in 1928 in Epigraphia Zeylanica Vol. II. (Wickremasinghe, 1928).

The inscription had been engraved on a pillar, measuring about 4.5 feet by 8.5 inches square, and a portion of its top was broken off (Wickremasinghe, 1928). The writing had covered all four sides of the pillar and twenty-one lines of writing (including the two top lines that were missing) were on each side (Wickremasinghe, 1928).

The record was dated in the 7th century of a king whose name had been lost with the top of the pillar (Bell, 1895). However, on Palaeographic grounds, it was ascribed by scholars to the reign of King Kassapa IV [(963-980 A.D.) Wickremasinghe, 1928]. The content of the record dealt with the grant of the usual immunities to Kolayunugama, a village which had been given bu Uda Mahapa to one (Ki)tambava Mahaya as Pamanu or descendible property (Wickremasinghe, 1928).

Disappearance
In the 1940s, the inscription disappeared from the ground of the Mosque. Marcus Fernando in his article records more details about the loss of the gold sheet as follows;
This 10th century inscription, which was standing within the precincts of the Negama Mosque, dealt with the grant of immunities to Kolayunugama, a village which had been given by an Uda Mahapa to one (Ki)tambava Mahaya a descendible property. The descendants of the grantee and the identity of the village were already in the limbo of the forgotten things, and the document had outlived its usefulness as a legal instrument.

A candidate for a Parliamentary seat in the General Elections of 1947, holding an election meeting in the vicinity is said to have referred to this inscription. He was probably anxious 'amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill'. He is supposed to have said how these inscriptions help establish the rights of certain sections of the people. A few days after the inscribed stone was missing.

On the instructions of the Commissioner, the present writer, then working at neighboring Avukana scoured the area for weeks speaking to various people, but could not find any news whatsoever about it. It has not been heard of ever since. Neither did the candidate concerned win his seat.

Citation: Fernando, 1990. p.89.
The destiny of the disappeared inscription is obscure.

References
1) Bell, H.C.P., 1895. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon; Annual Report for 1895. p.5.
2) Fernando, W.B.M., 1990. History of the Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka 1930-1950. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume I: History of the Department of Archaeology. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p.89.
3) Wickremasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon (Vol, II). Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford. pp.14-19.

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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Kapara Mula, Abhayagiriya

Kapara Mula or Kapara Parivena is a ruined site situated in Abhayagiriya Monastery complex in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
Abhayagiriya Monastery as a seat of learning developed independently (Jayasuriya, 2016). By the 7th century, it consisted of four main Mulas (faculties), namely; Uttara Mula, Vahadu Mula, Kapara Mula, and Mahanethpa Mula (Jayasuriya, 2016). Of them, Kapara Mula was the prominent Mula next to Uttara Mula (Wikramagamage, 2004). It was specially set aside for the residing of foreign Buddhist monks and the inscriptions found here are therefore written in Sanskrit, the international language of the region of the time.
 
Establishment
Kapara Mula is said to have been erected by Dhatopatissa II [(659-667 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963]. Kings such as Aggabodhi IV (667-683 A.D.), and Sena I (833-853 A.D.) made additions and repairs to the development of the Mula (Nicholas, 1963). Inscriptions of the 10th-century record about Maha-Kapara and Kuda-Kapara Piriven and the Kaparamula fraternity at Abhayagiri Viharaya (Nicholas, 1963). An inscription of Mahinda V (982-993 A.D.) names the Kapara-arama and identifies the site [(see the following section: Kapararama Sanskrit slab inscription) Nicholas, 1963]. The daughter of King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) built an image house in the Kappuramula Vihara (Nicholas, 1963).
 
Kapararama Sanskrit slab inscription
This inscription was brought to light on 14 July 1854 (Dhammaratana, 2000). It has been engraved on a slab of rock measuring 4 feet 6 inches (Dhammaratana, 2000). It contains 16 lines of writing written in Grantha scripts [(except for the last two lines which are in Sinhala scripts) Dhammaratana, 2000]. The language of the record is Sanskrit, but the last two lines are given in the Sinhala language (Dhammaratana, 2000). The inscription has been dated by scholars to the reign of King Mahinda V [(982-993 A.D.) Dhammaratana, 2000].
 
The inscription contains some regulations issued in relation to a donation (Dhammaratana, 2000). The donation (a gift of 200 Tamka coins) has been made by a high priest named Samaganandin to provide drinking water to members of the Buddhist monks at the monastery establishment called Kapararama (Dhammaratana, 2000). This inscription also mentions a lunar eclipse and the date of that event [(14 Sunday in July 995 A.D.) Dhammaratana, 2000].

References
1) Dhammaratana, I., 2000. Sanskrit Inscriptions in Sri Lanka: A thesis submitted to the University of Pune in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sanskrit. Department of Sanskrit & Prakrit Languages, University of Pune, India. pp.402-414.
2) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.23.
3) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.144. 
4) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.100.

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Uttara Mula, Abhayagiriya

Uttara Mula or Uttaramula Parivena is a ruined site situated in the Abhayagiriya Monastery complex in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

This site is the headquarters of Uttara Mula, the name used to identify the most ancient congregation of Buddhist monks of the Abhayagiri Monastery. In ancient times, Uttara Mula monks were the custodians of the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha.

History
Abhayagiriya Monastery as a seat of learning developed independently (Jayasuriya, 2016). By the 7th century, it consisted of four main Mulas (faculties), namely; Uttara Mula, Vahadu Mula, Kapara Mula, and Mahanethpa Mula (Jayasuriya, 2016). Of them, Uttara Mula was the most prominent seat of the monastery (Wikramagamage, 2004).
 
Establishment
Uttara Mula is said to have been erected by Manavamma [(684-718 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963]. Kings such as Sena I (833-853 A.D.), Sena II (853-887 A.D.), and Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.) made additions and repairs to the development of the Mula (Nicholas, 1963).

Tooth Relic of the Buddha
During the Cola period of Anuradhapura (1017-1070 A.D.), the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was protected by the monks of Uttara Mula (Wikramagamage, 2004). After King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) recaptured Anuradhapura from Colas, the monks had entrusted the king with the custody of the Tooth Relic (Wikramagamage, 2004). The Velaikkara Inscription mentions Uttara Mula as the chief fane of Abhayagiri Mahavihara and the original depository of the Tooth and Bowl Relics of the Buddha (Nicholas, 1963).

References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.23.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.145. 
3) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.100.

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Anointing Pavilion, Abhayagiriya

The Anointing Pavilion or Anointing Hall is a ruined building situated in Abhayagiri Monastery premises in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

It is a building that belongs to the type known as Snanaghara (bathing house) described in the Bodhicharyavatara (Wikramagamage, 2004). In ancient times there was a practice of anointing the Buddha images with scented waters and this ritual is held even today in Sri Lanka at some places such as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi premises in Anuradhapura and Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy (Wikramagamage, 2004). This building in Abhayagiriya premises had also been used for the consecration of the Buddha and Bodhisattva images with scented water according to the Mahayana traditions.

The stone pavilion where the water vessels and the images were placed and the drains bringing the consecrated water out of the hall are still visible here. This building is believed to be a work of the late Anuradhapura Period.

References
1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.97.

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Abhayagiriya Monastery, Anuradhapura

Abhayagiriya [(also known as Uttara, Abhayauttara, Abhayaturā, Abhāgiri, Abagiri-maha vihara, Apahayagara, Abahaygiri, and Bagirivehera) Nicholas, 1963] is an ancient Buddhist monastery situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

History
The temple founded by Valagamba
The monastery was established by King Valagamba alias Vattagamini Abhaya (103 & 89-77 B.C.) during his second reigning period (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). During his first ascension to the throne in 103 B.C., a Brahmin called Tissa declared war against him (Jayasuriya, 2016). At the same time, a Tamil invasion from neighboring South India put the king in a difficult situation. Valagamba sent a message to Tissa that if he could conquer the Tamils he could have the kingdom to himself (Jayasuriya, 2016). Tissa agreed to that and advanced with his forces to meet the Tamils, but was defeated by them. The Tamils who enraptured by the victory upon Tissa rampaged through the Anuradhapura city and defeated the king (Jayasuriya, 2016). 

Valagamba who lost his throne went into hiding in the hinterlands (Jayasuriya, 2016). When he got into the vehicle to flee, a Nighanta (a Jaina monk) named Giri saw the king is escaping and cried out rudely "Mahakalu Sinhalaya palayayi" which means that "the Great Black Sinhala is fleeing". The hermitage from where the Giri cried out called Tittharama and that was built by King Pandukabhaya in the 4th century B.C. (Nicholas, 1963). Hearing this insulting shouting by Giri, Valagamba thereupon resolved to build a vihara at the site of Tittharama if his wish of regaining the throne was fulfilled (Jayasuriya, 2016). 

After nearly fourteen years, Valagamba marched on Anuradhapura and regained the throne by defeating the reigning Tamil king (Jayasuriya, 2016). He gave orders to demolish the Tittharama and built a Buddhist temple at the site as he vowed. As revealed by the chronicle Mahavamsa, the king named the newly built temple as Abhayagiri by combining a part of his name (Abhaya) and that of the Giri Nighanta (Nicholas, 1963). However, it is unclear how the monastery was named in this manner (Jayasuriya, 2016). According to the view of Jayasuriya, this establishment heralded a religious and national resurgence and marked the end of Brahmin and Jain authority in the country (Jayasuriya, 2016).

A separate sect against Maha Vihara
The term "Abhayagiri Vihara" refers not only to the complex of monastic buildings but also to a sect of Buddhist monks. At the beginning of the foundation of the Abhayagiriya Vihara, there was no difference between its religious practices and those of the Maha Vihara (Jayasuriya, 2016). However, a monk named Dhammaruci arrived at Abhayagiriya in 77 B.C., and thereafter the monks there came to be known as Dhammarucis as they follow a breakaway sect that differs from the Maha Vihara tradition (Jayasuriya, 2016). As a result, Abhayagiriya became the seat of the heterodox, Mahayana doctrines and consequently, it came into rivalry with the orthodox Maha Vihara (Nicholas, 1963).

Abhayagiriya had its golden age during the reign of King Mahasena [(275-301 A.D.) Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963]. Mahasena who was persuaded by his tutor monk prohibited the giving of alms to the monks at Maha Viharaya and destroyed the buildings of that temple and re-used their materials for the construction of new buildings at Abhayagiriya (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). Thus Abhayagiriya became rich in buildings and as the chronicle records "it was made stately to see" (Jayasuriya, 2016). The Chinese monk Fa-Hsien who stayed in Sri Lanka from 411 to 413 A.D. mentions that there were 5000 monks in residence at Abhayagiriya (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). He further mentions in his memoirs about the Abhayagiri Stupa, the glamour of the city, and the annual procession of the Tooth Relic of the Buddha from the Palace to the Vihara (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). In the 4th or 5th century A.D., the Cetiyapabbata Vihara (present Mihintale) passed into the control of Abhayagiriya Viharaya (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). 

As a seat of learning
Abhayagiriya as a seat of learning developed independently (Jayasuriya, 2016). By the 7th century, it consisted of four main Mulas (faculties), namely; Uttara Mula, Vahadu Mula, Kapara Mula, and Mahanethpa Mula (Jayasuriya, 2016). Buildings and structures belonging to these faculties have been identified today (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Foreign relations
Abhayagiriya had well-established relations with China, Java (Indonesia), India (Jayasuriya, 2016). Fa-Hsien, a Chinese monk lived in Abhayagiri Viharaya for two years (411-413 A.D.) to study Buddhism (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). It is mentioned in Chinese texts that nearly three thousand Chinese nuns received higher ordination from ten Sri Lankan nuns headed by Tissara at the Nanking temple in China in the 5th century A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016). The nuns responsible for this higher ordination is believed to be hailed from Abhayagiri Viharaya (Wikramagamage, 2004). An inscription found in pieces near Pendopo from Ratu Boko in Central Java reveals the religious contact between Sri Lanka and Java in the 8th century A.D. (Degroot, 2006; Jayasuriya, 2016). This inscription (known as Abhayagiri Inscription) records the building of a Buddhist monastery by King Dharmmottungadewa and the naming of the new monastery after the well-known Abhayagiri Vihara of Sri Lanka (Degroot, 2006). The Sinhala-Vihara in Nagarjunakonda in India is thought to be a branch of the Abhayagiri sect (Wikramagamage, 2004).
 
Destruction
Periodic South Indian invasions, especially in the 9th century in the reign of King Sena I (846-866 A.D.) and nearly fifty years of Cola rule in Sri Lanka (1017-1070 A.D.) and the subsequent abandonment of the capital, Anuradhapura, led to the fall of the Abhayagiri Vihara (Jayasuriya, 2016). King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) and Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) made efforts to resurrect the temple (Jayasuriya, 2016). However, its final collapse came after the transfer of the capital from Polonnaruwa to an alternative location due to foreign invasions (Jayasuriya, 2016).
 
Rediscovery
The site that was in a dark era of about eight centuries was rediscovered in the 1880s (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Abhayagiri entourage
Abhayagiri entourage is extending in about 200 hectares (Jayasuriya, 2016). It is the second oldest of the Great Monasteries (Mahavihara) in Anuradhapura. All essential features of a Buddhist monastic institution such as the Stupa, Bodhi-tree shrine, image house, Padhanaghara (meditation centers), chapter house, living quarters, refectories, bathhouses, wells, ponds, etc. are found here. Kings such as Gajabahu I (112-134 A.D.), Kanittha Tissa (167-186 A.D.), Voharika Tissa (209-231 A.D.), Gothabhaya (249-263 A.D.), Mahasena (275-301 A.D.), Dhatusena (455-473 A.D.), Aggabodhi I (571-604 A.D.), Aggabodhi II (604-614 A.D.), Silameghavanna (619-628 A.D.), Dathopatissa (659-667 A.D.), Aggabodhi IV (667-683 A.D.), Manavamma (684-718 A.D.), Mahinda II (777-797 A.D.), Sena I (833-853 A.D.), Sena II (853-887 A.D.), Kassapa V (914-923 A.D.), Sena III (938-946 A.D.), Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.), Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) made repairs and additions to the development of the temple (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 196).
 
Abhayagiri Stupa
Abhayagiri Stupa (also known as Uttara Maha Cetiya) is the second-largest Stupa in the country. Presently, it is 71.5 m tall (up to the broken spire) and has a diameter of 120 m at the lowest basal terrace. The Stupa including the sand-strewn terrace covers an area of about 5.6 hectares.
 
There had been a Stupa named Aggipavisaka on the spot where the present Abhayagiri Stupa stands (Wikramagamage, 2004). King Valagamba (89-77 B.C.) built the Abhayagiri Stupa in the 1st century B.C. (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). King Gajabahu I (112-134 A.D.) enlarged it and built vestibules to the four gateways (Nicholas, 1963). King Kanittha Tissa (167-186 A.D.) built Vahalkadas for it and King Voharika Tissa (209-231 A.D.) renovated its umbrella (Nicholas, 1963). According to Fa-Hsien (411-413 A.D.), the Stupa at Abhayagiriya was 122 m (400 feet) tall (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004).

King Mittasena (428 A.D.) in the 5th century A.D. built a gateway to the Stupa and King Dhatusena (455-473 A.D.) restored the umbrella (Nicholas, 1963). King Mahanaga (569-571 A.D.), Aggabodhi I (571-604 A.D.), Moggallana III (614-619 A.D.), Kassapa IV (898-914 A.D.), Sena III (938-946 A.D.), and Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.) made further improvements to it (Nicholas, 1963). Following the neglect and partial collapse during and after the Cola conquest of Anuradhapura (993-1070 A.D.), Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) restored the Stupa to a height of 73 m [(240 feet) Nicholas, 1963].

Thereafter, the Stupa didn't receive the patronage of anyone until the 20th century. In 1910-1912, the Department of Archaeology made several attempts to consolidate the cube, cylinder, and spire of the Stupa (Jayasuriya, 2016). The three basal terraces were repaired in 1926 by the resident monks of the temple (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Frontispieces (Vahalkada)
Four frontispieces are there at the base of the Abhayagiri Stupa facing cardinal points. They have been decorated with floral designs and figure sculptures. Senarath Paranavithana attributes them to the reign of King Kanitthatissa [(164-192 .D.) Jayasuriya, 2016].

Moonstones (Sandakada Pahana)
Moonstones are found at the foot of a flight of steps to a shrine of every Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. The most exquisitely carved two moonstones so far discovered in the country have been found within the Abhayagiri monastery premises. Of them, one is located at the foot of the steps of a Pancavasa building known as Mahasen's Palace (Jayasuriya, 2016). The other is found in front of the building known as Queen's Palace (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Other monasteries & monuments belong to the Abhayagiri Vihara complex
It is said that there are 27 monasteries in the entourage of the Abhayagiri complex (Wikramagamage, 2004). Vijayarama, Kiribat Vehera, Asokarama, Lankaramaya, Dakkhina Vihara, Toluvila, Puliyankulama, and Mihintale are some of the monasteries belonging to the Abhayagiri Vihara complex (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Other monuments within the Abhayagiri monastery premises include the Bodhighara, Eth-Pokuna, Ratnaprasada, Abhayagiriya Alms-Hall, Samadhi Buddha Statue, Kuttam Pokuna, Jantaghara, Kapara Mula, Uttara Mula, Anointing Pavilion, Assembly hall, and the Second Samadhi Statue.

Artifacts
A large number of artifacts have been unearthed through the archaeological excavations carried out at the monastic site by the Cultural Triangle from 1981 (Wikramagamage, 2004). Glazed earthenware and clay tiles, potteries, coins and coin molds, ingots, Buddha images, Bodhisattva images (Avalokitesvara, Tara), plaques, sculptures, grinding stones, bowls, stone statues, toilet, and urinary stones, and inscriptions are among the many artifacts found so far from the site. Some of them are presently on the display at Abhayagiriya Museum and Colombo National Museum.

Bronze Samadhi Buddha image
This solid-cast bronze (right photo) with remains of gilt was discovered during the excavations near the refectory building (Wikramagamage, 2004). According to Wikramagamage, this image probably belong to a period prior to the second half of the 5th century (Wikramagamage, 2004). However, according to the description given by the National Museum of Colombo, this image belongs to the 9th-10th century A.D. 
 
The image shows the artistic features of the Maha Vihara school (Wikramagamage, 2004). It is seated in the Virasana postures with hands in Samadhi Mudra.

Limestone Samadhi Buddha image
Eight Samadhi Buddha images made of limestone were discovered in a clay pot unearthed at the boundary wall of a monks' residence to the northwest of the Eth-Pokuna (Jayasuriya, 2016). They have been dated by scholars to the 5-8 centuries A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Bronze bowl
A bronze bowl with Astamangala (eight auspicious signs) was discovered during the excavations at the Uttara-Mula premises (Wikramagamage, 2004). It measures 14.5 cm in diameter and 8 cm in height (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). The Astamangala signs are molded in low-relief in a band on the circumference of the bowl.

Ardhanarinateshvara (a Hindu bronze of the 7th-8th century A.D.)
This solid-cast bronze was discovered from the Abhayagiri Vihara complex. It depicts Ardhanarinateshvara or the composite figure of the male and female figure of Siva and Shakti. Usually, these bronzes have the male half on the right and the female half on the left. But here, it is reversed. The bronze is 12.3 cm tall (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Statue of Nagaraja or Virupaksa
This fragmentary stone statue was discovered near the western entrance of the Assembly-hall [(Sannipata Salawa) Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004]. According to some, it is a statue depicting a Nagaraja [(King of Nagas) Jayasuriya, 2016]. Others believe that it is a statue of the Buddhist deity Virupaksa (Wikramagamage, 2004).
 
This inscription was discovered from Abhayagiri Vihara premises. The purport of this record was to register certain immunities granted by the king in respect of land named Mihindaratan-vatta and the income of that had been set aside to meet the cost of the medical treatments given to the monks of the Mangul-Piriven of Abhayagiri Viharaya (Ranawella, 2005).
 
Abhayagiriya Museum
Abhayagiriya Museum is located to the south of the Abhayagiri Stupa. It was initially known as the Maha Tissa Fhahian Museum, but later the name was changed because it is linked to the Abhayagiriya archaeological site (Rambukwella, 2014). The museum was opened to the public in 1992 (Rambukwella, 2014).

References
1) Degroot, V., 2006. The archaeological remains of Ratu Boko: From Sri Lankan Buddhism to Hinduism. Indonesia and the Malay World, 34(98), pp.55-74. 
2) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. pp.21-35.
3) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). pp.141-146. 
4) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). p.406. 
5) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.70-76. 
6) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.95-121.

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Petigmmana Pillar Inscription of Vikramabahu III

The Petigmmana Pillar Inscription of King Vikramabahu III is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. 

The pillar
The pillar was discovered half-buried in a garden near the foot of the Petigammana-kanda near Gampola in Kegalle District (Bell, 1904). It was later brought to the present location for conservation. 

The inscription has been engraved on two opposite sides of the pillar (5 feet 7 inches by 2 feet 7 inches by 6.5 inches) and each side contains 15 lines of writing (Bell, 1904; Ranawella, 2005). The figures of the sun and a Pun-kalasa are found above the writing of the first side while the second side contains a figure of the moon above the writing and a figure of a crow at the bottom of the pillar (Ranawella, 2005).

Content
The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the 14th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2005). It has been erected in the reign of a king styled Sri Vikramabahu Cakravarty who, according to scholars, is King Vikramabahu III [(1357-1374 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the record was to register a grant of some estates in a village named Petigammana to a monastery called Semora-radagama Vihara by a prince named Milana Kumara (Ranawella, 2005).

References
1)  Bell, H.C.P., 1904. Report on the Kegalle District of the Province of Sabaragamuwa. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: XIX-1892. Government Press, Sri Lanka. pp.79-80.
2) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.100-101.

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Devinuwara slab inscription of Vijayabahu VI

The Devinuwara slab inscription of King Vijayabahu VI is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. 

The slab
The slab is 4 feet 6 inches tall and 2 feet 1 inch wide (Ranawella, 2005). It was discovered from somewhere in Devinuwara and later brought to the present location for conservation. 

The inscription has been engraved on both sides of the slab. The first side contains 23 lines of writing and the second side has 4 lines (Ranawella, 2005). The record ends abruptly at the fourth line of the second side (Ranawella, 2005)

Content
The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the 16th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2005). It is dated in the fifth regnal year of a king styled Sirisangabo Sri Vijayabahu Cakravartti who, according to scholars, is King Vijayabahu VI [(1510-1521 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the record was to register the grant of some paddy fields to a Hindu shrine named Nagarisa Kovila in Devinuwara (Ranawella, 2005).

References
1)  Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.104-106.

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Ganagamiya Pillar Inscription of Kassapa IV

Ganagamiya Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. 

Discovery
The exact provenance of this inscription is not known  (Ranawella, 2005). However, according to its content, this record has a link with a village named Ganagamiya situated in a region named Valpita, a place probably situated north of Anuradhapura (Ranawella, 2005). 

The pillar had been broken into two fragments when it was brought to the Colombo Museum (Paranavitana, 1933). As they were treated as two different inscriptions by the museum, the eye-copies and the estampages of them were prepared in 1907 and 1924 (Paranavitana, 1933). However, after the correct identification, the fragments were joined together and numbered as a single inscription.

The pillar
The pillar is 7 feet tall and the width of each side is 8 inches (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005). It contains a Sinhala inscription engraved on all four sides of the pillar. The first and second sides contain 32 lines of writing each while the third face has 33 lines (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005). The fourth side contains 12 lines of writing and the figures of a scythe, a monk's fan, a crow, and a dog (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005). 

Content
The inscription is dated in the 11th regnal year of a king styled Kasub Sirisangbo, the brother of the Great King Udaya Abhaya (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005). This ruler, according to scholars, is King Kassapa IV (898-914 A.D.), the brother of King Udaya II [(887-898 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the record was to register certain immunities granted to an estate that was a donation to a lying-in-home by a Mahale named Senalna (Ranawella, 2005). This person has been identified as Mahalekha Sena mentioned in the Culavamsa in the account of the reign of Kassapa IV (Ranawella, 2005). 

References
1) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Colombo Museum Pillar-inscription of Kassapa IV. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. pp.270-277.
2) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.48-53.

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This page was last updated on 8 January 2021
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