Sunday, 23 April 2023

Senkoolaya (Mace)

Senkoolaya (Mace)
Senkoolaya (Sinhala: සෙංකෝලය) is the Mace that symbolizes the authority of the Sri Lankan Parliament. Without the Mace, the Parliament can not sit and no proceedings are taken place. It is also an indispensable feature of a number of parliamentary ceremonies including the election of a new Speaker (Fernando, 2018).

The Mace of the Parliament
The Mace currently used in the Parliament was gifted to the Ceylon House of Representatives on 11 November 1949 by the British House of Commons (Fernando, 2018; Library of Parliament, 2019). A delegation led by Major James Milner, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons handed over the Mace to the then Serjeant-At-Arms, M. Ismail, at a meeting of the House of Representatives presided by Sir Francis Molamure, the then Speaker (Fernando, 2018).

The Mace was created based on drawings prepared by renowned artist S. P. Charles (1916-1981) and his colleagues attached to the Art Department of the Technical College (Fernando, 2018). The design of it was inspired by the architecture of the ancient temples in Sri Lanka and the ornamentation is based on the Lotus (Fernando, 2018). The Mace was made in England by Daniel Spencer, the goldsmith of M/S Gerrads (Pvt) Ltd (Fernando, 2018). It is reported that the piece of ebony and the blue sapphires in the Mace were supplied to them from Sri Lanka (Fernando, 2018). The then value of it was GBP⁠ 2,500 (Fernando, 2018; Library of Parliament, 2019).

The Mace is 48 inches in length and 28 pounds in weight (Fernando, 2018; Library of Parliament, 2019). It is made of a staff of ebony with ornamentation in silver, 18-carat gold and sapphires (Fernando, 2018; Library of Parliament, 2019). The head of the Mace is a silver sphere on which two lions carrying swards are visible and above the sphere is a polished octagonal crystal symbolizing purity (Fernando, 2018). Below the sphere is a cube on which the figures are the Sun and Moon (symbols of perpetuity), the Chakra (symbol of progress) and the Purna Ghata (symbol of prosperity) are found (Fernando, 2018). Below the cube is an octagonal silver knop supporting four hanging Pekadas in lotus form in silver and gold representing the four quarters of the earth from which hang sapphire and gold drops (Fernando, 2018). At the base of the Mace is an inverted lotus in silver and gold.

The Serjeant-At-Arms is the custodian of the Mace. At the beginning of a parliamentary session, the Serjeant-At-Arms brings the Mace into the parliament Chamber while the Deputy Serjeant-At-Arms announces the arrival of the Speaker. When the Speaker occupy his chair, the Mace is placed in the upper brackets on the Table of the House below the Table of the Secretary-General of Parliament (Fernando, 2018). The octagonal polished crystal terminal is placed pointing towards the Government benches (Fernando, 2018). When the Speaker leaves the chair but Parliament still sits as a Committee, the Mace is transferred to the lower brackets beneath the table to show that the Parliament is not properly constituted (Fernando, 2018).

The old Mace of the Upper House (the Senate)
The old Mace that was used in the Upper House which existed till 1972 is presently preserved in the collection of the Parliament. It was handed over to the Upper House by the Governor-General, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke (1954-1962) on 1 November 1956.

The Mace was manufactured by W. A. Ariyasena of the College of Fine Arts through Hemachandra Brothers, a jewellery manufacturing company in Colombo (Fernando, 2018). Following the instruction of the Hemachandra Brothers, a craftsman named E. N. Piyathilake of Rambukkana created the Mace (Fernando, 2018).

The Mace is 52 inches in length and 7.5 pounds in weight and ivory, 20-carat gold, silver and gemstones have been used (Fernando, 2018). It consists of 355 parts and can be dismantled into 40 sections (Fernando, 2018). The Pali text Santhindriyocha Nipacocha is found engraved on the upper portion of the Mace.

Senkoolaya (Mace) .
1) Fernando, N., 2018. Office of the Serjeant-At-Arms in Sri Lanka; Its history and mission, objectives and functions. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Department of Government Printing. pp.18-20,28.
2) Library of Parliament, 2019. Parliament of Sri Lanka: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte. Parliament Secretariat. p.21

This page was last updated on 23 April 2023


Post a Comment