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stone monuments, but accurately hewn pillars of stone or granite, which in some cases must evidently have supported roofs, or some sort of building; while a great number, capped with a beautifully sculptured crown, form the ornamental surroundings of the cyclopean dagobas,* or relic shrines, which are the most prominent features of the whole place. These are gigantic masses of solid brickwork, built in the form of a bell, and crowned with a sort of spire called a tee, which symbolizes the honorific umbrella. These huge piles are estimated to contain millions of cubic feet, and somewhere near the sum mit of each a secret chamber was constructed, wherein was deposited some worshipful fragment of Buddha himself, or of one of his saints, surrounded by costly offerings. The means of access to this chamber was known only to the priests, but it is recorded in the Book of Chronicles of Ceylon, the Maha-wanso, that when about B.C. 161 King Dutugemunu had built the Ruanweli, or Golden Dust, dagoba, he ascended to the summit by means of a temporary winding staircase, and thence descended into the sacred chamber, wherein he deposited the precious casket containing the relic, whatever it was, and various other treasures.
Of course, in exploring any scene of ancient historic interest, it is essential to have gathered previously as much information as possible regarding it, for nowhere does the eye so truly see what it brings the capacity for seeing as in visiting the ruined cities of bygone ages. This is certainly true of this labyrinth of ruinous brickwork and sculptured stones, so bewildering till one begins to get something like a clue to its main features. In point of fact, most of what remains of the once mighty city of Anuradhapura, the magnificent, lies buried beneath from six to fifteen feet of soil, waiting for a whole army of excavators to come and supplement the feeble force now working for government. And yet, although the forest now overgrows the whole plain, so that the only break in your long ride is an occasional open tract, where fine old trees grow singly, as in an English park, enough remains above ground to enable you to recall vivid visions of the past. For a space of sixteen square miles, the somewhat scrubby jungle, stunted by the prevalence of droughts, is but a veil for the masses of masonry and brickwork; a wilderness of granite pillars, with richly From datu, a relic, and gabbhan, a shrine; or from
deha, the body, and goka, that which preserves.
carved capitals and flights of steps, some covered with intricate carving, as perfect to-day as when, two thousand years ago, they were trodden by the unsandalled feet of reverent worshippers or busy merchants. The designs of the stairs are beautiful; on either side supported by rich scroll patterns and graceful figures, overshadowed by the seven-headed cobra supposed to be the emblem of vigilance, while the huge semicircular stone which forms the lowest step (commonly called a moonstone) generally represents a sacred lotus blossom, round which circle rows of horses, elephants, bullocks, and the invariable geese held sacred by all ancient nations. These stones are pecul iar to Ceylon, and, strange to say, no two of them are exactly alike in arrangement of detail.
Broad roads have been cleared through the dense jungle, embracing the chief points of interest, and, as you ride slowly along these or any of the innumerable pilgrim paths which here intersect the forest, you see on every side the same wilderness of hewn stones, heaped up in dire confusion, all overturned by the insidious growth of vegetation, and at last you emerge at some huge bathing tank, all of carved stonework; or it may be on the brink of a great artificial lake formed by an embankment of cyclopean masonry. Or else you find yourself in presence of some huge figure of Buddha-perhaps reclining in the dreamless repose of Nirvana, perhaps sitting in ceaseless contemplation of the lovely forest- -a mighty image of dark stone brought from afar at some remote time when worshippers were legion.
Now, perhaps a handful of flowers or some ashes of burnt camphor tell of some solitary villager who has here offered his simple prayer. Or the object which suddenly presents itself to your sight may be one of the gigantic dagobas, of which I have already spoken - one of many similar buildings which lie scattered in various parts of Ceylon in the silent depths of vast forests, which now cover the sites where once stood busy, populous cities.
It is recorded in the ancient chronicles that on great festivals these dagobas were festooned from base to summit with endless garlands of the most fragrant and lovely flowers, till the whole building resembled some huge shrub in blossom. Others were literally buried beneath heaps of jessamine. One of the relic shrines which was thus adorned, the Jetawanarama, towered to a height of three hundred
erson Tennant calculated that even now it measures twenty millions of cubical feet, giving sufficient material to raise eight thousand houses, each with twenty feet frontage, which would form thirty streets half a mile in length, and would construct a town the size of Ipswich or Coventry, or form a wall one foot in thickness and ten feet in height reaching from London to Edinburgh! Now this mountain of brickwork is covered to the very summit with large trees of such frugal habit as apparently to live on air, for they surely can find no subsistence in the crumbling bricks.
and sixteen feet. Though no reverent three hundred and sixty. Sir James Emhands now garland this desolate shrine, kind nature still strews it with fairest blossoms, and has covered it right up to the summit with trees of largest growth, all matted together with beautiful flowering creepers. These have now been in a measure cleared away, so as to reveal the form of the gigantic dome, capped with a ruinous red spire, four stories high, circular on a square base. Tall monoliths and sculptured figures at the base of this huge mass of masonry afford the eye a standard by which to estimate its height. My own feeling, as I sat at work sketching it, as in duty bound, was of amazement that any human beings could have constructed an object so oppressively large, useless, and hideous.
The oldest and most venerated of all these great buildings is the Thuparama dagoba. It was built by King Dewananpia Tissa, "The Delight of the Gods," who ascended the throne B.C. 307, and, having obtained possession of Buddha's right collar-bone, proceeded to build this wonderful shrine for its reception. (I can not refrain from remarking how culpably careless were poor Prince Gautama's cremators! The dagoba at Kala-wewa purports to contain his jaw-bone, while another at Bintenne was erected B.C. 164, to contain a bone from his thorax.) The height of the Thuparama dagoba is about sixty-three feet.
Those slim columns with the ornamental crown which never supported anything are most puzzling, no one having any idea why they were erected. The only rude parallel which occurs to me as possibly throwing light on the subject, is a custom which prevails in certain tribes in the Kassia Hills, on the confines of Upper India, where a cromlech is erected over the ashes of the dead, whose spirits are invoked by the living. Should the prayers thus offered be granted, a great monolith is erected close to the tomb in acknowledg. ment thereof, and in due course of time these multiply, so that some favored tombs are surrounded with a large group of such tributes of gratitude. It is just possible that this rude phase of ancestor worship may give us the clue to the more elaborate productions of a highly civilized race, whose object was equally the invocation of the dead. Whatever the meaning that may have once attached to them, it is now utterly forgotten even by the priests.
The slim monolithic columns all round it are peculiarly elegant, though unmeaning except as ornaments. A similar arrangement of three rows of pillars of equally delicate workmanship, numbering respectively 20, 28, and 40, surround the Lankarama, which is a smaller but very fine dagoba of unknown date. It is attributed to King Maha Sen, who succeeded to the throne A.D. 275, and who, having in the earlier years of his reign adopted a creed known to orthodox Buddhists as "the Wytulian heresy " (supposed to have been Brahminical), had done all in his power to suppress Buddhism and destroy its monuments; but, finding that the inevitable result would be to raise a general rebellion, he recanted, and became a zeal-dome; but when once the dome had been ous Buddhist, not only rebuilding all the monuments and priests' houses which he had destroyed, but building new ones to outvie those of his predecessors.
The chief of these is the Jetawanarama, which, though not originally quite so large as the Abayagiria, was three hundred and sixteen feet high, and is still two hundred and forty-nine feet, with a diameter of
As regards the dagobas themselves, there are now two classes: first, those that were built as depositories for sacred relics (these include all the cyclopean buildings); and secondly, a multitude of small ones, which were merely hollow, circular domes, built over a lower square chamber which was the receptacle for the ashes of some cremated monk or nun. Apparently the only means of access to this chamber beneath the square platform was by a square opening beneath the
erected, the living might no more enter the chamber of the dead. Within the chamber, at the four corners, forming a sort of octagon, were stone slabs bearing the name of the dead and a short catalogue of his or her good deeds, together with a representation of Buddha's feet, the trident, the sun and moon, and other Buddhistic emblems.
Unfortunately, at Anuradhapura most of these tomb dagobas have been destroyed by sacrilegious treasure-seekers. Though the dagobas in this place are specially interesting as being the largest and oldest in Ceylon, the same form is reproduced in many more modern cities, and in connection with Buddhist temples all over the isle-all built on the same pattern, namely, a circular building on a square platform.*
At Chi-Chen in Central America there are ancient buildings which in size, form of dome, and the ornamental tower or tee on the summit, are said to be apparently identical with those of Ceylon. It would be interesting to know whether they have also the square platform.
so as to have the four sides true to the points of the compass. The squares of the platform and outer wall were then marked out; also the true circle for the dagoba; and the whole was built up solidly - no chamber of any sort till the appointed height was reached, perhaps fifteen feet from the summit. But so soon as the central square pillar was built up, another was placed on the top of it, " truly perpendicular, and securely fixed in position by mortise and tenon." Thus it was carried right up from the base to a height of from two hundred to four hundred feet to the relic-chamber, which was formed as a perfect square facing the cardinal points; and here, as in the tomb dagobas, this stone pillar projected about four feet through the floor; it was overlaid with gold and supported a circular golden tray, on which was laid the casket containing the precious relic, which may have been only a hair from a saint's eyebrow, or a revered toe-nail, but was probably accompanied by treasures of very much greater interest, which fully accounts for the anxiety of ruthless marauders to pillage these depositories.
It is worthy of note that the commonest type of grave all over north China, from Shanghai to Peking, simply consists of a circular earthen mound erected on a square platform of earth, the mound being generally crowned by a spire or nob. These are made in miniature for the very poor, very large for the wealthy, and cyclopean for emperors. This combination is the mystic symbolism which to the Chinaman represents the dual principle in na- Here, for example, is a list published by ture. The square is the feminine symbol, Mr. Wickremasinghe of the various oband represents the earth. The circle sug-jects enshrined in a dagoba at Hangurangests the male principle, and symbolizes Heaven. The same principle is worked out in the construction of the great temples of Heaven and Earth at Peking.†
It is interesting and curious to find this ancient symbolism revered and perpetuated by the professors of a creed to which such details are certainly foreign. The external square was repeated by an internal pillar which marked the exact centre of the dagoba —in the case of the tomb dagoba the pillar was sometimes square, sometimes circular. It was about a foot square, and rose about four feet above ground, and on it rested the casket containing the ashes of the dead. Such caskets were generally miniature dagobas of the same bell shape.
In the construction of the gigantic relic shrines it appears that in the first place the exact centre was marked by an upright monolith accurately squared, and placed
The Thuparama and Laukarama dagobas are apparently exceptions to this rule, for though the tall circular spire rests on a square platform on the summit of the dagoba, the great massive buildings are raised
on circular mounds.
↑ See "Wanderings in China," by C. F. Gordon Cumming, vol. ii., pages 172, 175, 180, 322. See also "A Ground Plan of the Temple of Heaven," and "Notes on Tomb-temples," in " Meeting the Sun," by Will. Simpson, F. R.G.S. Longmans, Green & Co. Pages 176 and 190-193.
keta: "Two gold chains and two medals studded with valuable gems, one hundred and sixty silver images, one hundred and ninety-nine bronze images, six hundred and four precious stones, two thousand uncut stones, and many other objects, including two boards for binding a book, of silver and gold studded with gems; five books of the Vinaya Pitaka written on silver plates; seven books of the Abhidharma Litaka on silver plates, as also a number of other books; one book written on nine hundred copper plates each three spans long, and extracts from various religious books written on thirty-seven plates of gold, each plate weighing five English sovereigns."
Of the gigantic relic dagobas there are seven within the limits of Anuradhapura itself, without reference to those at Me hintale and elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Of the other dagobas which are scattered about in the jungle, I may mention the Kiri Wihara (Milk Temple), which is so entirely buried beneath encroaching earth, that its existence is only known by the tradition which declares it to lie buried beneath a huge grassy mound.
All the dagobas at Anuradhapura are built of brick, and perhaps their erection here was suggested by the fact of finding
building material in such abundance, in | ace and its various apartments has been the form of beds of clay ready for the preserved in the Maha-wanso, which is the manufacture of millions of bricks book of ancient national chronicles. In though, strange to say, the ancient chron-one great hall were golden pillars, supicles relate how, to facilitate the building ported by golden statues of lions and eleof the Ruanweli dagoba, one of the gods phants, while the walls were inlaid with created the requisite quantity of bricks at flower-patterns of costly gems, and fesa place sixteen miles distant, but there is toons of pearls. In the centre stood a no record of their having been miracu- magnificent ivory throne of wondrous lously transported to the spot. workmanship, for the high priest, while above it was the white chatta or umbrella, the Oriental type of sovereignty. On either side of this throne there were set a golden image of the sun, and a silver one of the moon; and the whole palace was richly carpeted, and full of luxurious couches and divans. Amongst the curious statistics of the Great Brazen Palace, we hear of a stone canoe, twenty-five cubits long, made to contain some special drink for the thousand priests - a very jovial species of punch-bowl! A huge hollowed stone, sixty-three feet long, three and one-half feet broad, and two feet ten inches in depth, was pointed out to us among the ruins of this great monastery as having been used for this purpose, while another hollowed block of granite, ten feet long, two feet deep, and six feet wide, lying near the Jetawanarama, was shown as that wherein the daily allowance of rice was measured out. Certainly the proportion of sack was largely in excess of the solids.
Of course, in viewing these ruinous red mounds it requires an effort of imagination to picture them as they appeared when so thickly coated with chunam as to resemble huge domes of polished cream colored marble. This chunam was still in use when the oldest European bungalows were built, and gives their pillared verandahs a delightfully cool appearance; but this manufacture is a lost art, though it is known that chunam was a preparation of lime made from burnt oyster-shells mixed with the water of cocoanuts and the glutinous juice of the fruit called paragaha.* Of vanished glories, one of the chief must have been the Monara, or Mayurapaya, ie, the Peacock Palace of the Kings, so called not only from the brilliancy of the colors with which it was painted externally, but also from the abundance of precious stones, gold, and silver, employed in its decoration. It is described as having been a building three stories high, with ranges of cool rooms underground. Whatever may still remain Minute details are given of the daily of it is all underground, buried beneath a rations provided for all these priests of grassy mound; but round it, as if keeping the king's bounty, as also of the vessels of sentry round the royal palace, stand a circle sugar, buffalo butter, and honey provided of fine stone pillars with beautifully sculp- for the builders, whose work, however, tured capitals. But the crowning marvel did not prove enduring, for in the followof Anuradhapura was the Lowamaha-paya, ing reign this Tower of Babel had to be or Great Brazen Palace, a monastery built | taken down, and it was rebuilt only seven by King Dutugemunu about B.C. 164, for the accommodation of one thousand priests, or rather monks, for such they were. It was nine stories high, probably pyramidal, so that the top story was much smaller than the lowest. The latter was built up from a foundation supported by sixteen hundred granite pillars, all of which the Rajavali implies were covered with copper. Each priest had his own little dormitory, and (as no great man could possibly allow his inferior to sit higher than himself) the poor old priests of highest rank had to occupy the uppermost rooms, just under the roof with its glittering brazen tiles - rather warm quarters on a hot summer's day!
A most interesting account of this pal
• Dillena dentata.
stories high. Two hundred years later these were reduced to five stories, and seventy years afterwards, in A.D. 240, it must have been entirely rebuilt, as the reigning monarch changed the position of the supporting pillars. When (A.D. 275) King Maha Sen succeeded to the throne, full of iconoclastic zeal, he demolished this lofty clergyhouse as well as many more buildings connected with Buddhism, and used them as quarries for the erection of new shrines for the images supposed to have been sanctioned by "the Wytulian heresy." But when he threw over his new love to return to the old, he rebuilt the Brazen Temple and all else that he had destroyed. Unfortunately some of the sixteen hundred granite monoliths had been broken, so to make up the number a certain number were split. This was done
by boring holes in the stones and therein | number, bearing the name of the caste or driving wooden wedges, on to which water profession of its inhabitants. All were was poured to make the wood swell, a level and straight; the broad carriage-way simple but effective device, which was was sprinkled with glittering white sand, first adopted in England about two thou- while the footpath on either side was cov sand years later. ered with dark sand. Thus the foot passengers were protected from the dangers of the swift riders, chariots, and carriages. Some carriages were drawn by four horses. There were elephants innumerable, rich merchants, archers, jugglers, women laden with flowers for temple offerings, and crowds of all sorts. Not only had they cunning craftsmen of all manner of trades, but the most minute care was bestowed on such practical matters as the sanitation of their cities. Thus, in Anuradhapura there was a corps of two hundred men whose sole work was the daily removal of all impurities from the city, besides a multitude of sweepers; one hundred and fifty men were told off to carry the dead to the cemeteries, which were well cared for by numerous officials. "Naked mendicants and fakirs,' ," "castes of the heathen," and the aboriginal Yakkos and Nagas, i.e., the demon and snake-worshippers, each had distinct settlements allotted to them in the suburbs.
How strange it is to think that when our ancestors sailed the stormy seas in their little skin-covered wicker boats, or paddled canoes more roughly hollowed from trees than those quaint outriggers which here excite our wonder, Ceylon was the chief centre of Eastern traffic, having its own fleet of merchant ships, wherein to export (some say) its superfluous grain - certainly other products to distant lands. Possibly its traffic may even have extended to Rome, to whose historians it was known as Taprobane, and of whose coins as many as eighteen hundred of the reigns of Constantine and other emperors have been found at Batticaloa. Think, too, that while Britons wore a full dress of only woad, and lived in wattle huts, these islanders had vast cities with stately palaces and other great buildings, and monuments whose ruins, even now, vie in dimensions with the Egyptian Pyramids. Besides these massive ruins, and this endless profusion of sculptured granite columns and noble stairs which once led up to stately temples, how poor and mean do all the modern temples appear, with their wooden pillars and walls of clay, the work of pygmy descendants of giants.
Here, four hundred years before the birth of Christ, all that constituted Eastern luxury reigned supreme. Great tanks watered beautiful gardens, and in the streets busy life fretted and toiled. Allowing largely for Oriental exaggeration, we can form some idea of the greatness of the city from the native annals, which tell how, including these tanks and gardens, it covered two hundred and fifty-six square miles, the whole of which was enclosed by a strong outer wall, which was not completed till the first century after Christ. From the north gate to the south gate measured sixteen miles, and the old chronicles tell us that it would take a man four hours to walk from the north to the south gate, or across the city from the rising to the setting sun. The writer enumerates the principal streets, and it gives a strangely familiar touch to hear of Great King Street, while Moon Street reminds us of the planet worship of the early Singhalese. Moon Street consisted of eleven thousand houses, many of which were large, beautiful mansions two stories high. There were lesser streets without
Within the city there were halls for music and dancing, temples of various religions (all of which received liberal support from the earlier kings), almshouses and hospitals both for man and beasts, the latter receiving a special share of attention. One of the kings was noted for his surgical skill in treating the diseases of elephants, horses, and snakes; another set aside rice to feed the squirrels in his garden, and a third devoted the produce of a thousand fields to provide for the care of sick animals. At every corner of the countless streets were houses for preaching, that all the passers-by might learn the wisdom of Buddha, whose temples then, as now, were daily strewn with the choicest flowers, garlands of jessamine, and the fragrant champac blossoms, and beautiful white and pink water-lilies (the sacred symbolical lotus). On all great festivals the streets were spanned by arches covered with gold and silver flags, while in the niches were placed statues holding lamps or golden vases full of flowers. At a later date the records of Pollonarua are almost indentical with these.
Yet ere long both these cities were doomed to be forsaken. The huge tanks which watered the gardens and irrigated all the land were left to go to utter ruin, and for centuries all has lain hushed and still. When foreigners invaded the isle