Kandy Chiefs in native dress 1882 in the great temple of Buddha
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken either in the 1870s or the 1880s by an unknown photographer, of a seated group portrait of Kandyan chiefs in national dress outside the Dalada Maligawa, the Palace of the Sacred Tooth Relic, in Kandy, Sri Lanka. This traditional dress was later worn by male members of high-ranking families and finally restricted to ceremonial occasions although it is still worn by bridegrooms. The temple is one of the most sacred places of Buddhist worship in the world and houses a shrine which contains a tooth relic of the Buddha. The 17th century shrine complex, situated at the rear of a large central courtyard in the temple, is accessed via a tunnel leading from a draw-bridge over the surrounding moat. The relic is carried in procession in a casket on the back of an elephant, during the famous Festival of the August Moon, accompanied by traditional dancers and also chieftains wearing the type of regalia and dress seen in the photograph.