Ruins, Polonnaruwa (Ceylon). 12 February 1868 258
Artist: Leighton, Stanley (1837-1901)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing of ruins at Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka, dated 12th February 1868. The image is inscribed on the mount in pencil: 'Ruins at Toparè (Pollarnarua) from a sketch by Louis Buxton. Fri. 12 Feb. 1868.'
Polonnaruwa became an important Sinhalese kingdom in the 11th century when King Vijayabahu I drove the Cholas from India off the island. By the 13th century the island was again overrun by Indian invasions and the city was abandoned leaving an area full of ruined buildings, Buddha statues, parks and a 2400 hectare tank, the 'Sea of Parakrama.' Dorothy Bateman wrote in 'An Illustrated Guide to the Buried Cities of Ceylon' (1932): "Polonnaruwa, the ancient Pulatthi-nagara of the chronicles, became the capital at the end of the 8th century A.D. It had been an important settlement before this date and offered a fitting sanctuary for the seat of government when Anuradhapura could no longer be defended from the Tamil. The new city reached its zenith under Parakrama Bahu I in the 12th century A.D."