Gampola Era

Gampola era commences in 14th century and there can be seen remains of many sculptures, engravings and carvings than the remains found in Dabadeniya era. Among them one may observe the Buddha statues, “bosath” statues, hyphothical secular images, moonstone, boarder designs of walls, statues of humans and other decorative wood carvings.

Statues Of Gampola Era 

The statues have been made out of bricks, metal, wood and plaster. Larger statues of Buddha of this era can be found in Gadaladeniya and Lankathilaka and smaller sizes of statues of Buddha have been found in Vijayothpaya and Ganegoda. There are also statues made out of metal can be found in Gadaladeniya, Lankathilaka, Madanwela, and Aludeniya.
A one special feature in the statues in this era is that most of them have been erected only in the open space without image houses to house them.
As the style of the Buddha statues are not unique in this era one may find difficult to study and analyze them. One reason for this would have been the influence of Mahayana and the Hindu culture.
However it can be studied and analyze the features of all statues in a common style of sculpture.
Most of the features like eyes, ears, nose, mouth ect., are not in a similar style. A “siraspatha” has been carved or engraved on the head of the Buddha statue. Halo, an arch of dragon and several other decorative features can be found behind of the head of the statue. There are no lines carved in the robe of the Buddha statue. Eyes are half opened and turn down words. In standing statues “witharka mudra” can be found instead of the “abhya mudra”.
As a whole, we find some inferiority in constructing of statues when compare to the previous eras of the history. The most status of this era do not reflects that the delicate smoothness, serenity, calmness and the great kindness which can be found in Anuradhapura and Pollonaruwa era.
The respect towards the statue by devotees also has been not as strong as the statues have been decorated excessively. However the artifacts have been redeveloped after the Polonnaruwa era during the Gampola regime.

The Buddha Statue of Lankathilaka 

Lankathilka temple has been constructed by Senadhilankara chieftain on the order of the king Buwenakabahu IV around the 14th century.
The seated Buddha statue in the shrine room has been constructed with brick and clay and polished and painted with gold. The statue is on a pedestal decorated, in “weerasana” with “dayana mudra” and there is a siraspatha on the head of the statue. There is an arch of dragon just behind the head of the Buddha. The robe of the statue reflects one shoulder opening with delicately carved lines of curled.
There are another two Buddha statues constructed in to the style of “Pallawa” school of art in India and there are wall paintings on the image house.
The Buddha Statue of Lankathilaka
The Buddha Statue of Lankathilaka

The Buddha Statue of Gadaladeniya

An inscription of Gadaladeniya says that this temple also has been constructed by Senaddilankara chieftain on the order of the king Buwenakabahu IV around the 14th century.
The special feature of this temple is that at the inception the entire construction had been carved and engraved granite completely.
The temple consists of two assembly hall and architectural stage. The Buddha statue constructed with brick and clay and painted in Gold can be found in the inner side of the chamber under the arch of dragon.


The Buddha statue in gold can be found in the inner side of the chamber under the arch of dragon.
The Buddha statue in gold can be found in the inner side of the chamber under the arch of dragon.
The statue is on a pedestal decorated, in “weerasana” with “dyana mudra” and there is a siraspatha on the head of the statue. The lines of the robe are in scallop style. There is a siraspatha on the head of the statue. As the eyes have been engraved in to an open posture it looks the gesture is more exciting than the having calmness.
It has been seen as a common feature that statues of deities are also have been constructed as well as the statues of Buddha in shrine rooms during this period. As an example the deities of Saman, Wibhishana, Upulwan, Katharagama, Ghanapathi can be found in shrine room along with the Buddha statues of Lankathilaka image house.
The influence of Mahayana school can be found in the artifacts during this era. The statues of “Awalokitheshwara bosath” can be found in this Gampola era.
In addition to the above there is a special feature where we find the secular images of human in this era.
There is a metal statue of king Buwenakabahu IV in Lankathilaka which can be stated as an example for a human statue. It stands for about one feet and there is a crown on the head of that with different types of royal jewellary.
There is a human statue, Queen Heenakanda Bisobandara of king Wickramabahu III find in Gampola era. It stands for about 3 feet and is a wood carving gaily decorated similar to a statue of deity. She wears a crown and her right hand is in “abhaya mudra” and the left hand is in “waradha mudra”.
 Engravings and Carvings of Gampola Regime
Engravings and carvings found belong to the period of Gampola mostly can be seen at the bottom of the walls and at the frames of entrances. The engravings in border lines are still in safe and they can be seen in Gadaladeniya, Niyamgampaya, Alawathura temples.

Gadaladeniya Temple

When we observe in detail the borders of the wall divided in to panels which have been decorated with beautiful carvings. Figures in these creations are comparatively smaller but created delicately and smoothly in a pattern of procession.
The male and female dancing figures are in a moving style. Most of the male figures depict the drummers and the female figures are carrying talam, flutes, and jingels. The female figures wear floral necklaces, ornaments around foot and the waist and the male wear a cloth for the bottom part and a waist band.

Niyamagampaya Temple

The borders on walls also can be seen in temple of Niyamgampaya. One of the borders over there contains the images of animals and the other side has been decorated with animals turning their heads to outside. There is a lion figure standing on his rare foot and a figure of dwarf standing on his hands. The male figures who have tied up their hair on the head which can be seen at the base of the wall and each of them playing different types of musical instruments such as drum, udekki, flute,  thalam etc.
Some of the female figures with a naked top part of body and wearing waist bands are dancing to the music and are playing musical instruments.
There are two dwarfs blowing conch shells at the entrance of the temple. There are three figures of male dancers in a style of threesome knot created in one of the panel border. This is called as “poottu” or joints by artists.
When you observe this type of dancing figures in cluster it is evident that the sculptor has given a special thought of the dynamic features of the figures as a whole.



Alawathura temple

There is another type of wall of borders have been found from Alawathura temple of Gampola period. Some of the features are been dilapidated. However the remaining borders and panels are the evidence of decorating with dancers of male and female, images of mythical animals, and several other designs.
There is a delicately engraved granite frame of an entrance at Alawathura temple.

Doors And Doorframes of Gampola Era 

The carvings and the engravings of Gampola era also elegant like Anuradhapura era. There is also a wooden frame of door found at Aludeniya at Udunuwara which has been carved delicately and there is also sandalwood frame of entrance called “rambhawa” made in to three parts with beautiful carvings.
The three parts containing with different types of engravings have been separated with a design of lotus. The bottom part of the frame is decorated with trees and veins designs and there is an image of lion standing on his rare foot extending out the fore legs. There is a design of gaily decorated pot of plenty at top part of the door frame. There are several other decorations including swans. Flowers and buds, creepers in the middle part of the frame.
There is an image of “Gaja Lakshmi” at the top of the entrance seated in “badda paryanka” posture where goddess is folding her legs one on the other. There are elephants carved on the either side of the goddess.
There is a door frame found at Devinuwara in early parts of 14th century, which is made of granite.
There are different types of beautiful decorations of flowers, veins and different type of animals. There are two dwarfs figures reflect that they are in the action of lifting the frame. There is an excellently carved arch of dragon above the door frame.
  1. Kala Sangarawa of Lanka Kala Mandalaya –Vol- 24, Articles, Wood Carving of Gampola Period and Worshipping of Sun by Dr. Nandasena Mudiyanse
  1. The Art of Sculpture And Carving- Mohan Nandana Nanayakkara- WAsana Publishers
  2. Kala Sangarawa of Lanka Kala Mandalaya –Vol- 24,
  3. The South Western Kingdoms of Sri Lanka by Prema Nanayakkara

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