Sigiriya -( The Lion Mountain) Sri Lanka.

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Sigiriya rock is the hardened magma plug from an extinct and long-eroded volcano. It stands high above the surrounding plain, visible for miles in all directions. The rock rests on a steep mound that rises abruptly from the flat plain surrounding it. The rock itself rises 370m and is sheer on all sides, in many places overhanging the base. It is elliptical in plan and has a flat top that slopes gradually along  the long axis of the ellipse.


History


Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 3rd century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by Kasyapa. Following Kasyapa's death, it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 by British explorer John Still. The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archeologist Paranavithana who published a renowned two volume work, published by Oxford, known as "Sigiri Graffiti". He also wrote the popular book "Story of Sigiriya".Fresco




John Still in 1907 had observed that; "The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture Gallery... the largest picture in the world perhaps".


The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 meters long and 40 meters high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out when the Palace once more became a Monastery so that they would not disturb meditation.


Classified as in the Anuradhapura period but the painting style technique used to paint is considered unique. The line and application style of the paintings differ from the Anuradhapura paintings. The lines are painted in a form which enhances the sense of volumeness of figures. The paint has been applied in sweeping action strokes using more pressure on one side giving the effect of a deeper colour tone towards the edge. Other paintings of the Anuradhapura period contains similar approaches to painting but they do not have the sketchy nature of the Sigiriya lines as the painting of the Anuradhapura period has a distinct line which was the artists boundary which does not resemble that of the Sigiriya

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