The Artistic Aspects Of Anurahapura

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The paintings that were discovered from the remains of Anuradhapura era are the best evidence for the highly developed art of that period.
According to historical records, the building plan of Lovamahapaya was drawn and designed by a Buddhist monk on a piece of cloth, which had been built during the period of King Dhutugamunu. It seems that even the monks who lived during that period also were skilled with art.
Frescoes and other several kinds of paintings that date back to the earliest age of Anuradhapura era were found from various places in Anuradhapura. One example is Vessagiriya.

The remains of a painting on the roof surface of the cave
The remains of a painting on the roof surface of the cave

The remaining of a painting can still be seen on the roof surface of the cave. It can be seen that red, green and black colours were used in the painting. This painting could be a part of a larger painting drawn on the surface of the cave.
In addition, the paintings that belong to the early days also have been discovered from Kabaragala.

The remains of a painting discovered in Sithulpawwa
The remains of a painting discovered in Sithulpawwa

The paintings discovered in Sithulpawwa which is to be believed that they have been done during the period of King Kavantissa. Most of them have been faded away and decayed. Historical findings in Sithulpawwa, they have discovered some paintings are depicting of an image of Buddha or bikkhu standing, remains of a painting of window design, a face of a human wearing a headdress of a stag horn.
There is a finding from a cave in Gonagolla which is said to be belong to the ancient period reflects a painting of “Bodhisathwa” or royal carrying a flower with a long stem and female figure with a naked upper part of the body gazing at the male figure taking both hands together in “angali mudra” posture.

Painting of Gonagolla
Painting of Gonagolla
Part of the painting found from Gonagolla cave copied by S.P. Charles in his book, Conventional Sinhala frescoes
Part of the painting found from Gonagolla cave copied by S.P. Charles in his book, Conventional Sinhala frescoes

As well as a painting which has been found from the eastern entrance of the Ruwanweli stupa, decorated with a painting of a pattern of creepers filled with flowers and designs of trees. A mermaid is to be seen covered by the petals of the flowers. The painting of the mermaid has been done with the colours of red, yellow and blue.

Part of the painting found from the fronticepiece of Ruwanweliseya copied by S.P. Charles in his book, Conventional Sinhala frescoes
Part of the painting found from the fronticepiece of Ruwanweliseya copied by S.P. Charles in his book, Conventional Sinhala frescoes

Furthermore, an image of a dwarf holding a stick across his chest with both hands is also found at this entrance. This painting has been done skilfully with a series of straight lines.
Another example would be the paintings discovered by the archaeological department inside the relic chamber of a smaller size stupa in Mihinthalaya. This painting depicts a group of deities. Four deities can be seen clearly; among them one holds a blue lotus from its long stem. Below their knees are covered under the clouds and wearing headdresses and jewelleries such as necklaces, earrings and bangles. The background was similar to white and the parts of paintings were done with red and black colour.

Part of the painting found from relic chamber of Mihinthalaya copied by S.P. Charles in his book, Conventional Sinhala frescoes
Part of the painting found from relic chamber of Mihinthalaya copied by S.P. Charles in his book, Conventional Sinhala frescoes