Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The 'Robinson Casket', Ivory 15th Century AD, Sri Lanka.

The 'Robinson Casket' is one of a group of at least nine solid ivory caskets made in Kotte, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and sent by the kingdom's rulers to Portugal as diplomatic gifts, in some cases to mark specific historical or religious events. It is believed to have been made about 1557 to commemorate the King of Kotte's conversion to Christianity and the birth of a grandson and heir to the King of Portugal, hence the choice of Christian motifs and symbols of birth and rebirth that are intricately carved throughout the casket. The piece is among the earliest examples of Ceylonese art made for western consumption, and it illustrates beautifully how local craftsmen interpreted European forms and motifs and married them to their own decorative traditions. The casket is named after Sir John Charles Robinson, Superintendent of Art Collections for the South Kensington Museum (renamed the V&A in 1899), who acquired it in Lisbon before 1888.
Please click on web-link below :-…/the-robinson-casket-casket-…/

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ivory combs, Sri Lanka, 15th Century AD.

Combs, made of wood,coconut shell, metal, tortoise shell and ivory were in standard use long before the advent of plastics. Ivory combs made in Sri Lanka, were exported from Sri Lanka by the Portuguese and ended up in the houses of royalty in Europe. Here is an example of one of them.
Ivory Comb, Kotte period, 1412–1597, Sri Lanka
Please click on the web-link below:-

Monday, December 4, 2017

Child's walking trainer, Avissawella, Sri Lanka.

"Nadai vandil' - 'Child's walking trainer' - a wooden toy popular in the 1940s in Jaffna. This was given to a toddler starting to walk. This was ideal when used on sandy soil. If used on hard concrete or a tiled floor there was no breaking action. I got this specially made for my Grand-children.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Haputhale road, Sri Lanka.


Old Haputhale road and present highway.
Listen to the old song a carter is singing to his bullocks, dragging his loaded cart, up the Haputhale Hill climb.

Bara Bage / C.T. Fernando
Click on the web-link below with your speakers on:-

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Life in Ceylon 1850s

‘Royal Mail Coaches took passengers in ten or eleven hours to Kandy or Galla from Colombo, and an ordinary Mail Coach from Colombo to Negombo in three hours. The fare to Kandy or Galle was '£2'. 10. 0, and to Negombo12 Shillings. A single horse Mail Coach ran botween Kurunagala to and Ambepussa, charging 15 shillings' for each passenger. English mails-were brought to Galle by steamers which arrived twice in each month. The postage on letters was a penny per half ounce, and on newspapers a half penny. No limit of weight is set for newspapers, and obviously no limit was needed, as none of them was as large as our newspapers are now. lt is interesting to note that even in 1859, the Inland Tappal rates of postage were extended to India. But it took 18 days for a letter to reach Calcutta, 15 days to Bombay, and 7 days for Madras. A letter to England via Southampton cost sixpence per half ounce; via Marseilles 9d. per quarter ounce, and a shilling per half ounce. There. was Telegraph communication between Ceylon and India. The Inland charges were according to distances, two shillings for a " single distance." A single distance was taken as 100 miles or any distance less’,

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Life in the 1950s in Sri Lanka.

Photos taken with a box camera in the 1950s. Village children of Handapangoda, Wellawaya, at a school sports meet in Wellawaya, touring the Island on Vespa scooters and 'Mini skirt' fashion in Puwakpitiya, Sri Lanka.
Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorImage may contain: one or more people, people sitting, motorcycle and outdoor

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Artisans' work at the 'Dalada Maligawa', Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Decorated pillars, Dalada Maligawa, Kandy, Sri Lanka. The work of artisans residing in the Kandyan Kingdom. 1. 'Naari-latha' - A mythological creeper supposed to grow in the Himalayas.The flowers from this creeper depict all the beauty and allure of a damsel. They are supposed to draw away the men who perform 'Tapas' in the Himalayas, by their beauty.
2. 'Et-kanda-lihiniya - A mythological bird said to be capable of carrying off an elephant and eating it.
3. 'Simha' - A lion
4. ? Boar.
5. ? Lotus.
6 & 7 'Inverted Lotus' on the top of pillars

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The 'Dalada Maligawa', Kandy, Sri Lanka.

The Temple of Tooth at kandy is the final location of the sacred tooth of the lord Buddha which was brought to srilanka during the reign of king “keerthi sri Megawarna” by prince “Dantha” and Princess “Hemamala” from the kindom of kalingu India. It became the palladium of srilankan kings and was preciously guarded in a special shrine built within precincts of royal palace where the capital was located.
The Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, sri dalada Maligawa is in the centre of the city, the highest venerated religious place with steeped in cultural heritage attracting the highest respect of the Buddhists as well as the other religions all over the world. The beautiful magnificent temple was built by late king Vimaladharmasooriya 1st in 1592 AD.
The Relic Shrine is approached by a large draw-bridge over the moat and through a beautifully decorated frontispiece. A tunnel” ambarawa”, leads to the main shrine complex, having a central courtyard surrounded by storied structures.
The two-storied open pillared hall in front constitutes the area where visitors and devotees gather. The lower hall has its central part set apart for the beating of drums and other forms of traditional music performed during ritual service hours. On either side are the Pallemale Vihara constructed by king Kirti Sri Rajasimha and the Octagon (Pattirippuva) built by the last king, Sri Vikrama Rajasimha on one side and the small “stupa” supposed to contain the Bowl Relic of the Buddha on the other. The storied structures to the right and left of the shrine, constitute the residence quarters of the monks engaged during daily service (Tevava), the conference hall, the Library and the Office of the Diyawadana Nilame.The recognition of the sacred temple it has been declared kandy as a world heritage city by UNESCO. Ven.Monks of the two chapters of Malwattu and Asgiriya conduct daily worships in the inner chamber of the temple. Rituals are performing 3 times daily at dawn, at noon and in the evening. On Wednesdays, there is a symbolic bathing of the sacred relic with an herbal preparation from scented water and fragrant flowers called “Nanumura Mangalya”.
This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and it is distributed among those present.
I took these photos of the varied facets of this temple complex.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sigiriya, water garden, Versailles water garden, Hamlet, Shakespeare, Sri Lanka.

This photo was taken by me using a small Nikon Coolpix film camera a few years back. The photo was taken from the 'mirror wall' parapet. Two claims are made for Sigiriya.
1.That it inspired the architect of the French Versailles water  garden, who may have visited this site.
2.That the inspiration for the scene in Hamlet by Shakespeare, where the wood invaded the fortress, had its origin in the story of the defeat of King Kashyappa. It is claimed that Robert Knox carried the story to England.
A good account of the water garden at Sigiriya is given in the web-link below :-…/sigiriya-gardens-ponds-palaces.html

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Statue of Lord Buddha, Yudhaganaawa, off Buththala, Sri Lanka.

Yudaganawa town is in the Buttala Divisional Secretariat Division of the Moneragala District. The Dagoba could be reached by traversing 1½ km along the left turnoff at the Yudaganawa Junction 16km from Wellawaya on the Wellawaya - Moneragala road.
Yudaganawa derived its name fron the two words Yuda meaning war and Anganaya meaning arena being the place where the armies of prince Dutugemunu and prince Saddhatissa fought each other in 2nd c B.C. Another school of thought has it to be the spot where Prarakramabhahu the Great built a dagoba enshrining the ashes of his mother, Queen Ratnavali.
This Dagoba is by far the biggest ancient monument found in the Uva Province. Although the period to which the architecture of the Dagoba belonged is not clearly disernible, an image house of the Kandyan era is found near the Dagoba. However the Sutighara Dagoba of Dedigama, Demalamahaseya of Polonnaruwa and the Yudaganawa Dagoba had been built in the same design of Kotavehera type. As all these dagobas had been built up to half their height in brick it could be surmised that all three dagobas belong to the same era.…
I took a picture of a Buddha statue in the 'image house' mentioned above.
The youngster showing us the image said that the features of Lord Buddha in the image house shows a lack of serenity found in other images of Lord Buddha in the Island.
LikeShow More Reactions

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Buduuruwagala, Wellawaya, Sri Lanka.

Buduruwagala is located about 5 km from the Wellawaya on the Thanamalwila road. The name Buduruwagala means “the rock with the statue of Buddha” And this is exactly what it is. Seven figured are carved in this rock with a massive 51 foot Buddha statue in the Abhaya Mudra gesture at the centre. The rock it self has shape of a kneeling elephant with its head own. Although there is no documented information about this site in the ancient scriptures, Different historians have dated these statues from the 6th centuary to late Anuradhapura period. (between 8 – 10 Century). These carvings are of the Mahayana Buddhist style and belongs to the Pallawa- Sri Lankan art tradition and similar to the statues at Dova Temple.-