Category Archives: ancient civilisations

The Stupas of Anuradhapura: Reflections

Chryshane Mendis, whose chosen title isLiving landscapes or Ruined landscapes? A Reflection through the Stupas of  Anuradhapura”

 The approach I am taking in this article is a subjective interpretative one based on my study experience of landscape approaches. I will be looking at the three main historical stupas of Anuradhapura, the Ruwanwalisaya, the Abeyagiri Stupa and the Jethawanarama Stupa in relation to their current conservation and restoration status from a landscape perspective. I attempt not, to take the reader on a strict academic pathway, but on a personal thought provoking journey in this article.

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Galle Fort Renovations Completed ….. Volaare! Cantaare!

Item in The Daily Financial Times, 19 March 2022, bearing this title “UDA completes Rs. 210 m beautification of Galle Fort area”

The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing has carried out renovations in Galle Fort on the instruction of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who is the minister in charge of the subject. The Urban Development Authority which carried out the renovations has done so in a manner that would preserve the antiquities and heritage of Galle Fort. This was done with the assistance of the Department of Archaeology and the Galle Heritage Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fashioning History in Sri Lanka: Controversies

Michael Roberts

Computer generated 3D illustration with a Portuguese Caravel of the Fifteenth Century

Abstract of the article below: Two arrival stories in the long span of the island’s history will provide the foundations for reflections on history-making in the modern era. Episode One will pursue my own intellectual trail in the 1980s in fashioning an interpretation of the story of the arrival of the Portuguese and my subsequent confrontations in print with KM de Silva on this issue in the 1990s. Episode Two essays an interpretation of the advent of Vijaya retailed in the Pali & Sinhala chronicles as a genesis story of the same order as the tale of Adam and Eve: contending that it is not a tale with any factual basis, but one that conveys a mythic truth for its authors and ‘faithful’ listeners. It is, thus, a morality-tale about the magical implantation of civilised culture and state-forms within the island. This interpretation, however, has shortcomings and will benefit from the correctives imposed by Godfrey Gunatilleke’s exposition of the multi-faceted symbolism associated with this myth.

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Gal Oya and Its Boat Safari … with Swimmg Elephants

Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka is home to elephants that swim from island to island in search of food. It’s a unique spectacle that few are lucky to witness. Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/aeglecreations Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/aeglecreati… #srilanka #elephants #swimmingelephants #wildlife #srilankawildlife #wildsrilanka #nature #elephantsofsrilanka #wildlifedocumentary #documentary #sosrilanka #srilankatourism #galoya

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Robert Knox’s Journeys in Ceylon and the World in the 17th Century: One

Thiru Arumugam, in The Ceylankan, vol 25/1, February 2022 , where the title reads thus A three-hundred-and-forty-year-old book about Ceylon – Part 1″

There exists a three hundred-and-forty-year old book about Ceylon which was published in 1681. Although there are other books about Ceylon in other European languages written in the 17th century, this is the oldest book about Ceylon in English. Other books of this genre include the manuscript of Fernao de Queyroz’s book in Portuguese titled “The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon” which was completed in 1687 but the author died a few months later in Goa and the book was never published until Father SG Perera translated it into English and published it in 1930. Another book is by Phillippus Baldeus titled “A true and exact Description of the Great Island of Ceylon” which was published in 1672, but this was in the Dutch language.

An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, Continue reading

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British Imperial Pillage? The Parthenon Marbles

An Item in the Archaelogy News Network, 20 October 2021, with this title  Trophies For The Empire: The Case Of The Parthenon Sculptures”

A recently published article by eminent Professor David Rudenstine at New York’s University Cardozo Law School examines the cultural property dispute between Greece and Great Britain over the Parthenon Sculptures taken to London in the early 1800s by the British ambassador, Lord Elgin. The article specifically assesses the legality of their appropriation and argues that, contrary to conventional narrative, there is no evidence that establishes that Ottoman officials gave Elgin prior or subsequent written permission to remove the Parthenon Sculptures from the edifice. Three translations of the document were said to have been made (Ottoman to Italian, then Italian to English), however the English document has since been lost.

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The Black Fort and the Many Gems within Galle Fort

Juliet Coombe, in Daily News, 28 January 2022, where the title reads thus “Santa Cruz – The Portuguese Black Fort Of Galle”

Walking along the ancient walls it is easy to distinguish the black smoke covered walls of the Portuguese from the lower walls with the cannon positions built by the Dutch and later added to by the English.

 

 

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Revisiting Robert Knox’s Experiences in the Kandyan Kingdom in the 17th Century

Padma Edirisinghe, in Sunday Observer, 2016, where the title runs “That wanderer among the Kandyan hills”.see note below **

Thirteen miles off Gampola, past sprawling tea estates nestling in the lap of luxuriantly foliaged mountains, lies Legundeniya. Here, the carpet of Lanka’s histRory rolls back and reveals a page of the history of Kande Uda Pas Rata, as it was 300 years ago.

 

 

 

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Sarojini Jayawickrama’s Book on Robert Knox

Nira Wickramasinghe: reviewing Sarojini Jayawickrama’s Writing that conquers. Re-reading Knox’s Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, (Social Scientists Association, Colombo 2004)

 

Among academic historians in many parts of the world there exists an almost pathological fear of contamination by literary studies via the linguistic turn which manifests itself in the display of fierce criticism of authors of postmodern or cultural studies especially those interested in ‘discourse’ or textual analysis. This is an indication of how centred professional historians still are in the historicist and implicitly empiricist models which are responsible for their material and political hegemony in academia as well as in the public sphere.

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Buddhism among Tamils in the Past … and Present-Day Squabbles

PK Balachandran, in The Citizen, 8 August 2021, where the title is In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Link with Buddhism is Brushed Under the Carpet”

Unsustainable claims put forward by the Sinhalese and the Tamils on language, religion and ethnicity, have muddied Sri Lankan politics in the post-independence era. The Sinhalese loudly proclaim that Buddhism is quintessentially and exclusively, a “Sinhala” religion. The Tamils, on the other hand, claim with equal vehemence, that they have always been unalloyed Hindus, who had never ever had anything to do with Buddhism, which they identify with “Sinhala hegemony.”

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