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 Post subject: New graffiti found in Sigiriya
 Post Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:28 pm 
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New graffiti found in Sigiriya
The total number of Sigiri graffiti is over 1,000

11 June 2006

Archaeological experts, continuing work on a conservation project of the Sigiriya rock, have discovered another set of new Sigiri graffiti ('sigiri kurutu gee') recently.

Accordingly, a set of 400 new Sigiri graffiti was discovered during this work study conducted by Dr. Benil Priyankara.

This brings the total number of Sigiri graffiti already discovered, to over 1,000.

According to former Assistant Director, Department of Archaeology, Sirisaman Wijethunga, Dr. Senarath Paranavithana had succeeded in reading and describing over 685 Sigiri graffiti during his time.

For over 28 years (1928-1956), Dr. Paranavithana had dedicated himself to the task of discovering and understanding 'sigiri gee'.

Meanwhile, this conservation study had also resulted in the discovery of a painting of a woman carrying a hand-fan, two years ago.

A similar painting had also been discovered from the Ajantha Caves in India.


Read more:
:arrow: Sigiri Graffiti: poetry on the mirror-wall


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 Post subject: 820 new graffiti deciphered from the mirror wall
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:44 am 
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More light on Sigiriya inscriptional

Dr. Benille Priyanka has now read and deciphered 820 graffiti on the mirror wall, in addition to the 685 already decoded by Prof. Senerat Paranavitana.

@ Island / 23DEC2006

A Sri Lankan resident of California has deciphered the last of the famous inscriptions inscribed on the mirror wall of the Sigiriya rock fortress.

Dr. Benille Priyanka has now read and deciphered 820 graffiti on the mirror wall, in addition to the 685 already decoded by Prof. Senerat Paranavitana.

"I spent twenty years conducting this research and I’m very happy to have completed it," the 48-year-old Priyanka said yesterday. "These are fast vanishing records, more than 1,200 years old. They may remain on the wall for another 100 or 200 years but they will rapidly deteriorate thereafter, mostly due to weathering."

Paranavitana first started deciphering the Sigiriya graffiti in 1928 and published his work in 1956. Priyanka undertook the laborious task of reading the remaining inscriptions in 1986, expending his own finances and time. He lived many months at the quarters of the Cultural Triangle in Sigiriya and often climbed to the mirror wall every day. Armed with a magnifying glass, he would closely examine the graffiti and analyse them.

"It was not possible to photograph them digitally or take rubbings as the inscriptions were very faint," Priyanka explained. "So I had to go up every day. I didn’t find it a challenge. It was something I liked and wanted to do. Most of the remaining graffiti on the mirror wall have now been deciphered."

As already recorded by Paranavitana, the majority of inscriptions are poems written on the mirror wall by ancient visitors to Sigiriya. The subject matter is the enthralling damsels of Sigiriya and the thoughts of ancient visitors about the beautiful frescoes. Three of the poems mention that there were originally 500 frescoes. The graffiti speaks only of women.

"It would have been a mesmerizing experience to see these frescoes," Priyanka reflected.

While all the inscriptions interpreted by Paranavitana were poems, Priyanka has deciphered 400 poems, around 150 short sentences, 150 names as well as many incomplete poems. "These are not fragmentary or blurred but had been abruptly stopped by those writing them," he explained. Sixty other pieces of writing have been found, dating back to the Polonnaruwa or Dambadeniya periods (although the majority is from the end of the Anuradhapura period).

Asked what had inspired him, Priyanka said that he had first started reading Paranavitana’s work at the age of 15. "From ancient records, photos and translations, I learned the text and old letters," he recalled.

A student of Holy Cross College Kalutara and Sri Sumangala Panadura, Priyanka earned his first degree from the University of Colombo. He read for his Masters of Archaeology at the University of Kelaniya, where Prof. Senaka Bandaranayake was his mentor. After securing a Fulbright scholarship, he pursued another Masters and doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles. (NW)


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