Sigiriya, which dates back to 5th A.D., is considered as a site with a rich history regarding architecture, landscaping, urban planning, hydraulic technology, engineering, carvings, frescoes and poems in the graffiti.
When the King Kashapa selected the Sigiriya as his kingdom, he built a fortress which consists also of arts and carvings. Therefore it is considered as an art gallery. Though, Sigiriya developed during the reign of king Kashapa, the research done by archaeologists revealed the ruins of monasteries that dates back to 3rd centaury of B.C. which proves that Buddhist monks also lived around the area of Sigiriya rock.
Ruins of foundations, ponds, landscaping ramparts and moats found on the top of the rock and at the site of Sigiriya Fortress
Ear ring, head of pillar made of clay statue of terracotta found from the excavations of Sigiriya
The Artifacts Of Sigiriya
Sigiriya was rediscovered in 1897 by Sir Bell, commissioner of archaeology, which leads to further research and excavation.
The writings that were found on the mirror wall which has been built to protect the narrow pathways, suggest that there were more than 500 paintings. According to the archaeologists, they belong to 5-6 centauries of A.D., and about 22 of these paintings are clearly visible but the others have been faded away.
The subject of these paintings is the female figures which have been painted on the surface of a rock shelter in the eastern side which have been famous all over the world. Before drawing, the surface of the wall has been covered with a special plaster of lime and well levelled and polished. The drawings would have been done before the walls dried out on the wet surface. This method was known as “Pesco Buwono” which has helped the paintings to last for years without peeling off the plaster.
The evidence proves that, the drawings were done on wet plaster. A sketch of a hand drawn by mistake can be observed. It has been ignored and another hand was redrawn and painted. It is clear that the artist couldn’t erase the mistake because it was drawn on a wet surface.
The colours such as red, yellow and green had been used in the paintings mostly. The paintings included shadows and shadings as well which gave a three dimensional effect. It is done skilfully exquisitely with a series of lines.
The paintings of a couple of women as well as a portrait of a single woman can be observed. Out of the two women, one was painted in golden colour while the other in blue. The reason in which they were painted have not been finalized yet, only assumptions are been made. The slender body, chest, wide hips, long eyes and long neck have been drawn poetically. Each woman had unique coiffures or hair styles, necklaces, bangles and other jewelleries. To accentuate their beauty, their faces have been beautified. Their foreheads were made more attractive by placing a spot and their breasts were covered with a blue colour material decorated with silver patterns. In addition, below their bodies, clouds have been added to cover their bottom part of the body.
Although the paintings depict the style of Gupta of Ajantha paintings, the artists have skilfully maintained the unique characteristics of Sinhala art.