Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka

Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka

Product ID: 14816

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Author: Anuradha Seneviratna
Benjamin Polk/
Publisher: Abhinav Publications
Year: 1992
Language: English
Pages: 158
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170172810


Little attention has hitherto been given to the role of timber construction in Sri Lanka’s ancient architecture, and its photo-coverage has not until now appeared in one place. The buildings described here are mostly close to folk architecture but they comprise an important part of the ancient building tradition of Monsoon Asia-an immense area that includes parts of India, Nepal, Burma, Bali, and Japan, as well as Sri Lanka itself. Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka makes a permanent contribution to South Asian studies.

The authors search out the ancient picturesque temples in the central hills. Guided by the well-known scholar, Professor Seneviratna, the book centers on colour photographs taken by architect Polk during an eight month sojourn in 1980-81. Both archaeological and architectural expertise thus combine, and added to this is the research into the writings of early travelers, researched by Emily Polk, poet and painter, who has put the threads of history of those adventurous days into a dramatic form.

This collaboration is the result of their common interest in the ancient architecture of South Asia, and is written hoping that continuities from past to future may be maintained in these troubled present times.

In Sri Lanka there are forests where modern ways have not overwhelmed tradition and where the old wood buildings still flicker in the magic of the trees. Here is the drama of the land and its people: the stream ;of pure notes from an invisible flautist, the first glimpse of Adam’s Peak, the romantic narrative of the Sacred Tooth kept secret for 900 years before emerging in Serendib. And then Kandy, where high on the island the winds from the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean are on a collision course and the sensation of colours, movements and light is electrifying. So, we believe, is this book.



Travelling is Victory
Cities of the Old Kingdom
The Kandy Fortress
Homage to Ancient Splendours
In the Cool Mountain Air
Temples on Sacred Stones
The Inner Circle
Epilogue A Day’s Life in Kandy, by Emily Polk