Category Archives: paintings

Romila Thapar & Sri Lanka’s Heritage in Today’s Dismal Context

Uditha Devapriya

On Thursday, the 27th of January, Professor Romila Thapar will deliver the Dr Roland Silva Memorial Lecture to the National Trust of Sri Lanka. Professor Thapar will be speaking about the museum in India, charting its evolution from private collections to public displays and placing it in the context of similar institutions from other colonial societies.

 

 

 

 

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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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The Nomenclature and Lineaments of White-Brown Cohabitation in British Ceylon: A Puzzle

MEMO from Michael Roberts, October 16 October 2021

Moving from BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI to the Greet and Paynter lineages in British Ceylon-and-thereafter has raised a query in my mind: how is it that the category “ANGLO-Ceylonese” did not take root in Ceylon and Lanka in contrast with British India where the label “Anglo-Indian” became well-entrenched[1] and therefore was carried over to the era after India secured Independence in 1947? As we know,[2] Revd Arthur Paynter was an Anglo-Indian missionary who established the Paynter Homes in the Himalayan region of India and then set up the Paynter Home in Nuwara Eliya. He had also married a fellow-missionary in the Salvation Army who was pursuing her commitment in India, one Miss Weerasooria from Dodanduwa … and together sired a talented lineage.

Photograph on display at the Paynter Home of the Paynter family. David Paynter stands at the centre, behind his mother Agnes

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David Paynter: Consummate Painter, A Ceylonese and A Trinitian

“The Transfiguration” Image credit: shehansilva.wordpress.comThe Transfiguration. Image credit: shehansilva.wordpress.com

The chapel at S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia is, without exaggeration, the finest feature of the school premises. Displaying Byzantine (Later Roman) architecture, the limestone structure is both stately and imposing. But anyone with even a little exposure to S. Thomas’ College will know that it is the contents of the Chapel, and not simply its structural elegance, that gives it its value. Dedicated in 1927 to the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Chapel, with its high and wide nave, its great roof-beams and solid pillars, is known as the ‘Chapel of the Transfiguration.’ The word “transfiguration” means to be spiritually transformed or metamorphosed. It is a phenomenon which is hard (if not impossible) to describe in words, much harder still, to depict in art. But when you walk through the great arched doorway of the Chapel of the Transfiguration and into the sanctuary, you will be faced with a vast and powerful image, spanning across its east wall, behind the altar, which captures, by its astonishing simplicity, the essence of the transfiguration.

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Scilla Alecci’s Scurrilous Failure

Gerald Peiris

What causes more surprise than all else in the recently published ‘Pandora exposures’, supposedly produced through intensive investigations conducted worldwide by a Washington-based outfit named the ‘International Consortium of Investigative Journalism/ICIJ)’ on shady transactions by those at political and business elite levels is that, among many thousands of such exposures, there is only one from Sri Lanka, attributed to a relatively minor political leader having kinship ties with the two Rajapakshas – Mahinda and his brother Gotabhaya, presently at the apex of the government of Sri Lanka – and her husband, a person who, despite being wealthy, has somehow maintained relatively low profile in Sri Lankan affairs.

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Buddhist Revitalization in Sri Lanka in the Early Twentieth Century: Some Thoughts

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island 12th & 19th August in two parts, with this title  “Early 20th Century Buddhist Revival”  …. https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-1-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival AND https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-2-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as well as by their heterogeneity.

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Crossing Boundaries: The Indo-Portuguese Religious and Cultural Encounter

Chandra R. de Silva, aka “CR”, being the Inaugural Tessa Bartholomeusz Memorial Lecture, Department of Religion, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, delivered on March 4, 2002

Let me begin by thanking the Department of Religion and Florida State University for inviting me to deliver the inaugural Tessa Bartholomeusz Memorial Lecture. As many of you are aware, Tessa and I worked together in two academic projects in the last few years and we were part of a group that worked hard and successfully to set up an American Research Center in Sri Lanka. I miss her both as a scholar and a friend and thus, my appreciation for all you have done in her memory is immense.

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The Skeins of Class bearing on the Threads of Sinhala Cultural Revival under the British

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 24 July 2021, where the title reads “Colonial Bourgeoisie and Sinhala Cultural Revival”

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments, such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic, conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as much as by their heterogeneity.

Panadura Vaadaya

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The Sigiriya Frescoes and Their Maidens: The Hard Work of Restoration

From Raja de Silva’S book Sigiriya  — as excerpted in the Island, 18 April 2021, with the title “Dangerous and meticulous work copying Sigiriya frescoes in Bell era (1896)

The village of Sigiriya is mentioned in the 16th century book of Sinhala verse titled Mandarampura-puvata. From then on, the site seems to have disappeared from the public record until its rediscovery in the 19th century. Major Forbes of the 78th Highlanders and two companions rode from Polonnaruva through Minneriya and Peikkulam in search of Sigiriya, and reached the site early in the morning of a day in April 1831 (Forbes 1841).

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KD Paranavitana’s Felicitation Volume: A Treasure Trove

 

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