Ruins, Anuradhapura (Ceylon). 19 February 1868
Artist: Leighton, Stanley (1837-1901)
Watercolour of the ruins in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by Stanley Leighton (1837-1901), dated 19th February 1868. Inscribed both on the picture and the mount in pencil: 'Ruins at Anarajapore. Maha Lowa Prasada. Wed. 19, Feb. 1868.'
Anuradhapura was the seat of government for over 1000 years and is the spot where Buddhism first gained importance on the island in c. 260 BC. As a result, the area contains many ruined Buddhist shrines and monasteries as well as royal palaces and other related ruins. Seen in this watercolour are 1600 columns, all that remains of the Brazen Palace, which was once a nine storey palace with room for 1000 monks and attendants. Originally built by Dutugemunu over 2000 years ago, it is located in close proximity to the Sacred Bo tree (Sri Maha Bodhi). The oldest historically authenticated tree in the world (over 2000 years), it is believed to be a sapling from the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, brought to the island from Bodhgaya in India by Princess Sangamitta.