The Frescoes of the Thivanka Shrine Room


The Frescoes of the Thivanka Shrine Room.

The Thivanka shrine room has been built on the order of the king Prakkramabahu the Great. There are unique paintings at the entrance, intersole and the chamber respectively.

These paintings have been painted on the dry plaster under the style of “tempara”. Paintings have been out lined with red lines and there after painted with green, red and yellow. It is observed that these painters have been very skilful without leaving any room for any shortcomings even they have used only three colours.

Although the style of these paintings has been influenced by the school of Pallawa in India, the artists have managed to maintain the integrity of Sri Lankan styles.

The most remarkable painting at the Thivanaka shrine room is ‘Devaradhanawa” (invitation by the god).


The painting done between the chamber and the intersole reflects the invitation made by deities of “Thusitha” to the “Bosath”. Some of the deities in this painting are admiring at the “Bosath” and some of them are carrying “yasti’. The upper part of these deities are naked and the waist and the below have been painted floral decorations. It is interesting to observe that the way of the ornaments and the head dresses in a conical shapes. There is a remarkable painting of deity in bluish gray colour. The lines used in these paintings are fast, rhythmically and skillfully handled. They have maintained the three dimensional features in the paintings and they have highlighted the “Bosath” image at the center.

 “Bosath” image at the center of the ‘Devaradhanawa”
“Bosath” image at the center of the ‘Devaradhanawa”

There is a very important panting of Buddha descending down to the “Sankassapura” with the help of the Golden stairway which has been created by the Sakra deva after the preaching of Dharma to the deva of “Tawthisa” who was the mother Mahamaya of Siddhartha.

The Sakra is holding an umbrella (“chathra”) to the Lord Buddha, standing on another small ladder and the Brahma standing on a ladder of the left side of the Buddha is offering flowers. The painting shows the Lord Buddha with “witharka mudra” in his hands and there is a halo behind the Lord Buddha. The most of the faces of these paintings have been decayed.

In addition to these paintings there are paintings of “wessanthara jathaka, Asankawathi jathaka, Thundila jathaka, Guththila jathaka, Vidura jathaka, Chulla Paduma jathaka, Saama jathaka, Maha Suddassana jathaka, Kusa jathaka, Maha Ummagga jathaka, and the paintings depicting the dream of Mahamayadevi.

Part of the "Themiya Jathakaya"
Part of the “Themiya Jathakaya”