Sri Lankan Art Designs and Punkalasa Art

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Sri Lankan Art

Origins in the native culture and colonial influences

As with other countries and places, the art in Sri Lanka has its origins in the native culture, as well as subsequent influences by its colonial masters, the Portuguese and the British.

Sri Lankan art influences

Sri Lankan art is mainly influenced by Buddhism, introduced to Sri Lankan people in the 2nd century. More than 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, while the other religions are Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.

Other influences in Sri Lankan art come from the native people and the early settlers who were mainly colonialists like the Portuguese. Sri Lankan traditional art has been passed down from father to son. They specialize in many kinds of arts and crafts, such as music, dance and fine arts.

Handmade Sri Lankan pottery

Handmade clay figurines and pottery at a market stand in Sri Lanka
(Image by

Hand made art in Sri Lanka

Handmade art is made from wood, coconut shells, brass, bamboo, and clay. Handmade artists craft products such as pottery, jewelry, wooden masks, and batiks. Wooden masks in Sri Lanka have spiritual purpose as they are used to perform healing rituals. They are colorfully designed and wooden masks specialists are found in Southern Province.

Although originating in Java, Indonesia, batiks can also be found in Sri Lanka. Batiks are garments that are unique and usually colorful, made using manual dyeing technique. Each batik has a unique tie and dye pattern. Batik colours usually represent 3 major Hindu gods.

Jewellery making is also a dominant art in Sri Lanka and is still being actively practiced. This is done using brass, bamboo, wood and precious stones. Pottery is also a common Sri Lankan art. Products which include vases and ornaments are popular with tourists.

The Sri Lankan traditional art is also portrayed in the architecture. It can be seen in unique architecture, such as the Polonnaruwa's royal palace. Sri Lanka also has numerous caves and temple paintings.

Sri Lankan music

Another major part of Sri Lankan art is music. The community takes time to entertain with dancers and singers who are colorfully dressed. One of key elements in Sri Lankan music is the array of traditional instruments like the drums.

Sri Lankan art is show cased in the sports, festivals and food feasts of the Sri Lankan people. The art has helped to sustain inter-community understanding by bringing people from different regions of the island country together, fostered peace among the people through dance and music, instilled a sense of belonging, and helped in reconciling warring groups on the island.

© 2013 This article is copyrighted and property of Lotus Sunrise Designs. All rights reserved.

Sri Lanka Articles

  • Punkalasa - As Sri Lanka's truly national art form, Pun kalasa (pot of plenty) is a symbol for peace and prosperity. 
  • Sri Lanka Art - Sri Lankan inspired stationery designs inspired the creation of Lotus Sunrise Designs. 
  • Sri Lanka Events - The annual events are usually colourful festivals celebrating and event of religious or national importance. 
  • Sinhalese Line Art - Lotus Sunrise collections prominently feature Sinhalese line art tradition. 
  • Sri Lanka Holidays - This beautiful island with its rich historical background has a lot to offer to its visitors. 
  • Tangalle Sri Lanka - This wild and untamed country is filled with natural wonders, making it a great holiday destination. 

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