The origins of Sri Lankan Punkalasa
Sri Lanka is a relatively small island country in the Indian
Ocean. Despite having a relatively short 2,500-year history, the country is well versed in its artistic roots. One
of its traditional art forms is Punkalasa, an exotically beautiful art.
Sri Lanka's art
Sri Lanka has a lot to offer when it comes to art. As with
other countries, most of its artistic roots come from religious traditions and cultural beliefs. Its long standing
Buddhist culture has influenced most of the Sri Lankan art. This influence can be seen in their paintings and
sculptures, including architecture.
Buddhist tradition can be often seen in Sri Lanka's art - such as the above
figurine. (Image by
In addition to its Buddhist traditions, Sri Lankan art has also
been partially influenced by other religions, such as Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, all of which are
represented by small percentage of populace. There are also some foreign influences from the colonial
Sri Lanka's art history can be traced to as far as the second
century BC. Chronicles like Mahavamsa, written in the sixth century AD, has numerous references to the country's
art. Remains of wall paintings from Buddhist stupas have been found on many of the country's of archaeological
sites. The Mahavamsa book also refers to various other paintings and sculptures throughout the country. The
earliest reference to a Sri Lankan painting is that of the palace. Its drawn on a piece of cloth using
The Indian touch in most of the Sri Lankan art is striking. Sri
Lanka was one of India's most important trading partners during Mauryan Empire in India, 300-200 years BC. This had
a great influence in their art and history.
But that didn't hinder the country from developing its own
traditions and art, including Pun Kalasa, which is probably Sri Lanka's truly national art. The country presents
its art mainly in terms of Anuradhapura, Dambadeniya, Polonnaruwa, Kotte, Yapahuwa, Gampola and Kandy. The artistic
relics of most of these periods are restricted to paintings and sculptures.
Punkalasa art is depicted on this image of one of Lotus Sunrise original
Pun Kalasa (pot of plenty) art is mainly depicted as a figure
of coconut flowers on a pot. It's considered as the sole symbol of prosperity during these times. According to
Buddhist culture, a full pot depicts fertility, prosperity and wealth.
A more poetic name for Punkalasa in Sri Lanka
is gok gediya. The
art of making Punkalasa constructions, often done from coconut palm leaves, is known as Gokkalawa. This is a fine
folk art form, using only native materials.
Pun Kalasa artistic sculptures are found on various
archaeological digs around the country. In certain cases, the sculpture has been made to stand out on a lotus.
Hence historians around the world are of the same opinion that Pun Kalasa depicts prosperity and
© 2006 This article is copyrighted
and property of Lotus Sunrise Designs. All rights reserved.
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