The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka
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Author:  visitor [ Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka

The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka

Written by Senaka Bandaranayake and Gamini Jayasinghe

Published in 1986 by Lake House Bookshop, Colombo, this has got to be one of the premost books in this subject.

Afterall Professor Bandaranayake is one of Sri Lanka's leading authorities in Archaeology while Mr. Gamini Jayasinghe is one of the leading specialists in the field of photographic documentation of Sri Lankan rock and wall paintings.

Incidentally this is Mr. Jayasinghe's first book of such photographs.

While the Sri Lankan artistic heritage makes a sizeable contribution to the world of art in general, this book emphasises the fact that we Sri Lankans have a rich heritage of our own tradition for our own. The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka covers paintings from the early ages, as in prehistoric art also called Vedda rock art.

The book then follows art into the different stages in which it can be seen, depending on style and era. For a scholar conversant in the terminology of the subject this book would be of immense value. In fact in my opinion this book is aimed at such scholars.

The photographs of the paintings are of good quality and looking through them is a treat in itself. A personal favourite of mine is the painting of the Telapatta Jataka from the Mulkirigala Rajamahavihara in page 225.

The scene depicts the brother who indulged in the "sense of taste" as he accompanied the brother who was to claim the kingship of the town Takila with four other brothers.

What caught my attention was the three types of plantains painted so vividly that I think I can say the varieties. Especially the luscious looking 'rath kesel.'

And I'm perfectly aware that I'm benefitting from the authors' painstaking research and hard work which obviously have gone into this magnificent book. According to Mr. Jayasinghe he had to go to all these places to take photographs.

And indeed it has all paid off. The book ends with the modern period completing a handsome compilation of rock and wall paintings of Sri Lanka and a well researched text. It's no small wonder that this is one of the most sought after books in Sri Lanka. Here's hoping that it'll come back in print.

(The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka by courtesy of Mark Booksellers, Kandy)

- Dilini Algama

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