Carvings During the Kandiyan Period
There is an art of carving which has been utilized different mediums such as rocks, lime plaster, wood, silver, bronze, metal and copper where they reflect the skills of inhabitants during the period of Kandy shared with their environment and their day today activities.
Creations of Rock Carvings During The Kandyan Period
Although the pillars of the buildings of Anuradhapura have been constructed with granite, the pillars of timber have been used during the Kandyan period. Therefore the rock carving during the Kandyan period is been limited to a certain extent.
The stone pillars exhibited at the national museum of Colombo at present which has been found from Birendi Kovil of Medagoda area and other pillars of Kandyan period are the other evidence that there was a well developed rock carving technique.
The Moonstone of Kandyan period
The special feature of the Moonstone of Kandyan period is that the half moon of that has been transformed in to a full circle and sometimes they have added a another flat smaller round shape granite plaque.
The moonstone constructed at the main entrance of the shrine room of sacred tooth relic is an example for this shape.
There are moonstones in triangular shape which have been found in the temple of sacred tooth relic, Vishnu Devala of Kandy, Dambarwa Deavala of Kandy and from Haguranketha. This proves that the shapes of the moonstone have been evolved in to different shapes during the Kandyan period.
The conventional animal figures in moonstone in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa have been removed and instead of them have added the carvings of liyapath, thirigi thalaya, designs of petals of lotus and palapethi and the conventional animal figures can be seen only a very few in them.
The Moonstone of Shrine Room of Sacred Tooth Relic of Kandy No.1
This can be identified as one of the excellently carved beautiful moonstone of Kandyan period. There is a large bloomed lotus at the center of the moonstone and there are two lotus flowers carved on the either side.
The Moonstone of Shrine Room of Sacred Tooth Relic of Kandy No.2
This moonstone is in a shape of triangle. The petals of lotus have been created in a simple design and there is a line of “gal bindu” design carved at the center of the flower. There is a design of plant or creeper spreading out from a pot at the top center of the moonstone.
The Moonstone of Shrine Room of Sacred Tooth Relic of Kandy No.3
This is in a triangular shape with a large bloomed lotus flower. There is a design of plant or creeper spreading out from a carved pot and the either side of the creeper there are two “makara” designs.
The Moonstone of Shrine Room of Sacred Tooth Relic of Kandy No.4
This moonstone bears a very different shape which is similar to neckless of up country “padakkam”. There are two couples of elephants carved in either side of base looking at each other.
The moonstone of Kelani Temple
Two Moonstones of Horana Raja Maha Temple
The Moonstone of Dambarawa Deavala of kandy
The Moonstone of the Davala of Deity Katharagama in Badulla
Moonstone of Muthiyangana temple
Moonstone of Rajagala
The Moonstone of Vishnu Devala of Kandy
There is a beautiful lotus carved at the center of the moonstone and a creeper emerging from a flower with several twisting.
The Moonstone of Haguranketha
This moonstone is one of the highly decorated belong to the Kandyan era which is been displayed at the Colombo museum at present. There is a bloomed lotus and a beautiful creeper design flowing out from a pot carved skillfully.
The Moonstone of Devinuwara Devala
This moonstone is in half circle with a bloomed lotus flower at the center. The outer circle of the moonstone contains with the design “ginidel” (spray of fire). There is a palapethi design begins from a “kathira mala design”. There can be seen two figures of elephants carved at the base of the moonstone.
The Guard Stone of The Period of Kandy
Instead of king cobra appeared in guard stone of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa era, elephant and mahout, pot of plenty, “Pancha nari getaya”, (a design of encircling five female figures) have replaced in Kandyan Guard stone.
Although the main object of the guard stone has not been affected it is said to be exhibited as a sign of prosperity in guard stone of Kandy.
Statue of a Guard at Kelaniya temple
The Balustrade of The Period of Kandy
The dragon features of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa era, have been transformed into “gajasinha style. The “gajasinha” means mythical formation with a body of a lion and a head of an elephant.
Although the balustrade during Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa era are carved on granite stone that also have been transformed in to a construction of brick and plaster in Kandyan period. Very few of balus trades of granite can be found from the Kandyan period.
Skillfully carved guard stones in this style can be observed at the entrance of Gadaladeniya and Lankathilaka, fortress of Yapahuwa, Dalada Maligawa, Ridi Vihara, Kelaniya.
Balustrade with “gaja sinha”
The Balustrade of Kelaniya with a carving of dragon
The Makara Arch (Arch of Dragon) of The Period of Kandy
This is an art and sculpture of Mahayana school and developed in to our artifacts which can be found at the entrances of shrine rooms and behind the head if the Budhha statues of Kandyan period.
The arch of dragon has been created with a mythical belief. At the top of the arch there is a face of “Kihibi” with a fearful look, and either side of the Kihibi there are two figures of dragon.
Each dragon has been created using seven parts such as the trunk of elephant, feet of lion, ears of the wild boar, body of a fish, teeth of crocodile, eyes of monkeys and the feathers of “gurula” (mythical bird).
The arch of dragon has been developed adding other animal figures such as peacock, snakes, lion and figures of deities and Bosath visualizing as jumping out of the mouth of dragon.
Exclusively carved notable arch of dragon can be observed at the entrances and behind the statues of Gadaladeniya and Lankathilaka, Dalada Maligawa, Ridi Vihara and Kelaniya.
Some of the carvings and sculputures found at the National Museum of Kandy
The Wood Carvings During the The Period of Kandy
It is a significant feature that unlike in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Yapahuwa era the sculptures and the constructions have been done mostly with wood during the period of Kandy. They have used various decorative designs to make them actractive and the part of the wooden pillars carved has been highly praised and appreciated.
There are beautifuly decorated wooden pillars in Embekka and in the Shrine Room of Sacred Tooth Relic of Kandy. The half way of these pillars contained four different designs of squares and where the artists have been very much careful to not to use the same design in the other pillars.
Devala of Embekke
This is a devala of Gampola era which is situated at Pillimthalawa, Kandy of Central Province. It is said to be that this Devala is constructed on the order of king Vikramabahu iii which has been renovated by several other Kandyan kings. It is believed that this was treated as the royal pavilion of Gampola era and thereafter it has been turned in to a Devala of God Katharagama.
One should enter in to the Deavala from the “wahalkada” (the entrance with engraved pillars). Thereafter one may find the main Deavala. The front portion of the hall is said to be the “Dig geya” which is also called as “Hewisi maduwa”.
This also identified as a place of containing beautiful creations of carvings. There are wooden pillars in a total of 16 and 8 pairs of them are either side. These wooden pillars which have been standing on supportive groves on the rock are square shape at the bottom and half way it has made in to octagonal at the top. There are 128 carvings in different styles on the 32 pillars. They have used Na, Kaluwara, Gammalu and Kolon timber for the carvings.
“The Madol Kurupawa” of the roof of the “Dig geya” is also a beautiful and wonderful creation of wood crafting of this period.