Category Archives: Portuguese in Indian Ocean

Sandadas Coperahewa’s Lifework

A Bibliography of Published/Unpublished Work by Sandadas Coperahewa (1923 – 2022)


Books:
යුර ෝපා කලාරේ ලුහුඬු ඉතිහාසරේ සිංහල රපරැළිය හා යුර ෝපා කලා රහළ කලා සසදුව (1958)
[The Sinhala Translation of R.H. Wilenkski’s A Miniature History of European Art and a Comparative Study of European and Sinhalese Art]
 රෙරේ හිමි සෙරුව ( 1991) …. [A commemorative poem on Ven. Pamburana Metteyya Thera of Vajirarama]
 ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 1 : රලරයෝනාරදෝ දා වින්ි (1992)
 ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 2 : ෙයිකල් ඇන්ිරලෝ ( 1997)
 ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 3 : ෆාරයල් ( 1998) …………………. A series of books on World famous artists – Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael 

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Portuguese Creole in Sri Lanka: Faint Traces & Remnants

Dr Hugo Cardoso, a linguist from the University of Lisbon and his team who have been researching this historical language spoken in the East of Sri Lanka have now taken to social media to preserve this fast fading heritage.

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Obeyesekere’s New Book on the Kandyan Kingdom

Uditha Devapriya, reviewing Gananath Obeyesekere’s new book The Many Faces of the Kandyan Kingdom (1591-1765) Colombo, Perera-Hussein, 2020, 200 pp., Rs. 1,200 ... with ‘arbitrary’ highlighting imposed by the Editor, Thuppahi

In 1602, the year of the Dutch East India Company’s founding, Joris van Spilbergen reached the shores of Sri Lanka after setting sail from the seaport of Veere in Holland a year earlier. Tasked with opening up trade negotiations with the King of Kandy, Vimaladharmasuriya, Spilbergen bore with him a letter from the Prince of Orange, acknowledging their willingness to counter the Portuguese. Not for one moment underestimating the Portuguese presence in the island, though, they disembarked at Batticaloa, which fell under the jurisdiction of the Kandyan Court. They anchored off the coast on May 31.

 

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Dissecting Sri Lankan History & Politics through Book Reviews


Sophie Roel in conversation with Razeen Sally on “The best books on Sri Lanka recommended by Razeen Sally”

Many visitors to Sri Lanka have been beguiled by its charms, from its hill towns to its beaches, its ancient temples to its friendly people. And yet, for a quarter of a century until 2009, it was torn apart by a brutal civil war. Here, Sri Lanka-born political economist Razeen Sally, author of Return to Sri Lanka: Travels in a Paradoxical Land, recommends the best books to get a better understanding of Sri Lanka and the complexities that make the country so fascinating to visit and read about.

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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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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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Kaffir Traditions: Vibrant Traces at Sirambiyadi off Puttalam

Dishan Joseph, in Daily News, 20 February 2021, with this title “A slice of Africa in Puttalam”

Most Sri Lankans in Colombo city would have caught a glimpse of robust women, of African descent dancing to pulsating drumbeats. We have applauded the performances of the African Manja group. But have we truly understood their origins, displacement and hardships hidden behind their smiles. I firmly believe that after their generations have lived here for 500 years, they too are very much Sri Lankan.

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Dutch Burghers and Portuguese Mechanics: Eurasian Ethnicity in Sri Lanka

Dennis B. McGilvray, reproducing an essay presented in April 1982 within Comparative Studies in Society and History 24 (2): 235-263 –– an article that is wide-ranging and draws on ethnographic work as well as historical manuscripts. Note that the highlighting and pictorial insertions are the work of The Editor, Thuppahi.

 

 

 

 

 

I: PROLOGUE

Historians and anthropologists in Sri Lanka have tended to migrate in opposite directions, but away from the multiethnic confusion of the port cities. Typically, the heterogeneous, semi-Westernized, postcolonial urban society of Colombo and the larger towns has been only a transit point on intellectual journeys outbound to European archives or inbound to “traditional culture.” This was certainly my viewpoint as I arrived “inbound” in Sri Lanka for my first anthropological fieldwork. I took only passing notice of the clerks of mixed European and Sri Lankan descent who sold me stationery supplies at Cargill’s and mosquito nets at Carvalho’s. These people are given the official designation of Burghers in the government census: they are the racially mixed descendants of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British personnel who occupied the island during four and a half centuries of colonial rule.

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A Tale of Resistance: The Story of the Arrival of the Portuguese in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, reproduing here an article that appeared initially in 1989 with the same title in Ethnos, 55: 1-2:69-82. … and also in Swedish in Lanka. Tidskrift om Lankesisk Kultur (Uppsala), No. 2, March 1989. I regret that the presentation here has not been able to incoroporate diacritica for indigenous words.

ABSTRACT: This essay decodes a sixteenth century folktale which records the Sinhalese reaction to the arrival of the first Portuguese. Where the historiography has interpreted this tale as benign wonderment in the face of exotica, a piecemeal deconstruction of the allegorical clues in the ‘story is utilised to reveal how the Sinhalese linked the Portuguese with demons and with Vasavarti Maraya; the arch enemy of the Buddha. In this fashion the Portuguese and the Christian sacrament of communion were represented as dangerous, disordering forces. The piecemeal reinterpretation of this short text, however, must be overlaid by a holistic perspective and the realisation that its rendering in oral form enabled its purveyors to lace the story with a satirical flavour: so that the Portuguese and Catholicism are, like demons, rendered both disordering and comic, dangerous and inferior – thus ultimately controllable. In contending in this manner that the folktale is an act of nationalist opposition, the article is designed as an attack on the positivist empiricism which pervades the island’s historiography and shuts out imaginative reconstructions which are worked out by penetrating the subjective world of the ancient texts.

 

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