Ruins, Polonnaruwa (Ceylon). 13 February 1868 262
Artist: Leighton, Stanley (1837-1901)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing of ruins at Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka, by Stanley Leighton (1837-1901), dated 13th February 1868. The image is inscribed on the front in pencil: 'Dalada malagawa. Ruins at Toparè (Pollarnarua) Thurs. 13 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.' S.M. Burrows described this building in 'The Buried Cities of Ceylon' (1885): "It is still in wonderful preservation: the clear-cut figures and mouldings on the granite have suffered little from time; and though most of the roof has fallen in, the walls have been very little displaced. The building, which is Hindu in design, consists of an outer quadrangle, and an inner and innermost shrine. The inner shrine still retains its flat roof; and near the left wall is a curious square stone with a round hole pierced in it which may have held a flag-post."