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Volume 5 Number 3, April 1952

Volume 5 Number 3



The Selalihini Sandesa of Totagamuve Sri Rahula
H. Jayasinghe and L.C. van Geyzel

C.W. Nicholas and L.C. van Geyzel

Elspeth Huxley

The Baur Building
P.M. Goldschmid

A Bronze Image from Ceylon
P.E.P. Deraniyagala

A Note on Siha-Giri and Some Frescoes from Ceylon
P.E.P. Deraniyagala

Modern Movement in Sinhalese Art
Jag Mohan

Contemporary Artists
A.B.M.,  A.V.L.

Some Souvenirs from Kandyan Dances
Beryl de Zoete

Sinhala Folk Art
M.A. Raghavan

Masks of Ceylon

Book Reviews

Exhibition Notes

Anand, Mulk Raj
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 2-5
In this editorial to a special issue on the arts of Lanka, the cultural and spiritual affinity between India and Ceylon is traced to the arrival of Buddhism in the 3rd century BCE, Chola and later conquests of Ceylon, and the art of the two countries which are similar in character though different in temperament. The resemblance is reflected in the techniques of building and fresco-painting, and religious themes. Ceylonese art has a documentary significance, and in some respects achieved a synthesis between East and West. In their knowledge of handling paint and insistence on rhythmic vitality, young painters in Ceylon are more advanced than other painters in the East. In the realization of the beauty and dignity of imaginative art lies the hope of friendship between Ceylon and India.
The Selalihini Sandesa of Totagamuve Sri Rahula
Jayasinghe, H. , Van Geyzel, L.C.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 6-18
Composed in the middle of the 15th century, the Selalihini Sandesa is a message sent by the Prime Minister of King Prakrama-Bahu VI through a Selalihini (hill-mina) to God Vibhishana whose temple is in Kelani. The message, in the form of a prayer for a male heir for the King's daughter, is preceded by advice to the Selalihini on her journey and behaviour, and is followed by some parting words.
Nicholas, C.W.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 19-36

The 4th-5th and 8th-10th centuries CE were the principal periods of building activity in Anuradhapura, the capital of the kingdom. The town was sacked on six occasions, the Chola invasion during 1017-70 destroyed the town, making the dating of buildings difficult. The extant public utility, sanitary, irrigation, and architectural works are described in the light of the town's history and landscape. The masterly utilization of undulating land, well-developed stone-carving, and the combination of masonry and natural rock formation in the monasteries of Vessagiriya, Tissa-Vera, and the western group make Anuradhapura one of the finest flowerings of Indian art. Most of the architectural remains are religious. After Arthur M. Hocart, it is concluded that the sculptures begin with Amaravati, and some are datable to the Gupta period. No Dravidian influence is detected. Architectural features such as basements, moon stones, guard stones, and balustrades show a process of evolution. The buildings were made of brick, with or without stone reinforcement, but the architecture of Anuradhapura was characterized by extensive use of wood, particularly in buildings, for the people.

Huxley, Elspeth
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 37-43

Polonnarua was the capital of Lanka from 769 to 1240. This most spectacular of Ceylonese ruins owes it beauty to King Parakrama (1164-96) who expelled the Tamils and built, among others, a seven storeyed palace, a temple for Buddha's relic tooth, and a floral altar. Among the ruins, the "circular relic house" (with its high brick wall and terraces), Demala-maha-seye temple (best preserved, with a 40 foot headless Buddha and painted walls), and Gal-Vihara or rock-shrine (a most impressive monument with seated and reclining Buddhas) are described in detail. Although Polonnarua was abandoned in the 13th century, it still plays a role during Buddhist festivals.

Baur Building
Goldschmid, P.M.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 44-49

Constructed between 1939-41 in Colombo for A. Baur & Co. Ltd., which needed bigger and better work-rooms, this office-cum-apartment block with its basement, ground, and top floors, is characterized by through draughts, protection against sun and rain, adequate bathrooms, and large shady verandahs. The masonry consists of brick-work skeleton with steel foundation and massive girders on each floor, while care was taken to provide the necessary fittings for the inner structure. The plan (made in Switzerland) was executed by architect K. Egender, and by local engineers during the war intrusion. The inexpensive labour counteracted the high cost of imported material. Marg comments that it is perhaps the first building in the East to incorporate the Corbusier principle of a single corridor entrance for two-storeyed flats. Although there is a lack of feeling in the finishes, the internal airiness of the rooms and absence of the narrow tube-like inner courtyards, common to buildings in Ceylon and India, are its merits.

A Bronze Image from Ceylon
Deraniyagala, P.E.P.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 50-51

The features of this unusually heavy, solid-cast female figure seated in dhyana mudra indicate that, along with the allied image reproduced by Vincent Smith in his History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon, it is either a Buddhist "Sybil" or a local modification of Tara, the consort of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. The head-dress has an affinity with the Siha-giri type. The image was discovered in 1940 and is in the Colombo Museum.

Siha-Giri: The Lion Rock and Some Frescoes from Ceylon
Deraniyagala, P.E.P.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 52–53 + 6 unnumbered
A brief history of this most famous of Ceylon's ancient sites is followed by arguments for a possible connection between this citadel's name and the actual animal. The architectural features consist of the approach, 3 acres of flat space, 25 flights of steps, a dais for the throne, a reservoir, and two wells joined by numerous buildings. The technique of the frescos is akin to the Italian "buon fresco".
Modern Movement in Sinhalese Art
Jag Mohan
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 59-61

Created in 1943 as a reaction to the Ceylon Society of Arts, the '43 Group organized a series of exhibitions, and is recognized for its strong intellectualism. The Group is considered nearer to a medieval guild than to a typical Parisian school of painters. The painters' works are mature and individualistic. Not bound by any single theory, they are a continuous stimulus to Ceylonese artists.

Contemporary Artists
M.R. and A.B.M. and A.V.L.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 62-77
Profiled here are 9 painters in Ceylon -- George Keyt, Justin Daraniyagala, Harry Pieris, Ivan Peries, W.G. Beling, Aubrey Collette, Manjusri, George Claessen, and Richard D. Gabriel.
Some Souvenirs from Kandyan Dances
de Zoete, Beryl
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 78-85
The writer records his experiences of the Kandy Perahera (procession) dances during his visits there in 1935 and 1948-49. The Kandyan tradition is kept alive by these dancers and drummers with their costumes, theme, and technique of energetic rhythmic pattern (tala) and velocity of movement. The introduction of Kandyan dance to Europe as part of the menagerie of Mr Kandenbeck (member of a famous family of showmen) did not spoil the dancers style. The effort to forge new links between India and Ceylon by sending Sinhalese dancers to study Indian dance arts is commended, but this should not be at the expense of the Kandyan and other Sinhalese traditions, which free Ceylon should take pride in showing the world.
Sinhala Folk Art and Masks of Ceylon
Raghavan, M.A. and S.V.V.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 86-93

The golden age of Sinhala craftsmanship was reached in the feudal statecraft of the Kandyan period, and the Department of Artificers (Kottal badde) was organized. This impetus is reflected in the handicrafts which were not the monopoly of artisan castes but extended to daily life and household articles -- handloom-weaving and embroidery, ivory-working, and the lac industry.

Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 94-99

Review of Lionel Wendt's Ceylon by P.K.M.

A.S.R. and K.K.
Vol. 5 No. 3, April 1952, pp. 100-103

Notes on exhibitions in Bombay and Delhi by A.S.R. and K.K.