Sinhalese Monastic Architecture's front cover
Sinhalese Monastic Architecture's front coverSinhalese Monastic Architecture's back cover

Sinhalese Monastic Architecture The Viharas of Anuradhapura

Genre:Architecture, Research
Language : English
Published: January 01, 2009

From the backcover

Anurādhapura was the major centre of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the country's principal city from the 3rd century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. This study focuses on the remains of the Buddhist monasteries in and around the city. It proposes a framework for studying this monastic architecture, attempts an interpretation of the Sinhalese tradition, and places its forms and concepts in a wide historical and architectural context.

The most comprehensive and systematic treatment of these monasteries, this book brings together and re-examines material uncovered by over one hundred years of archaeological exploration and research in Sri Lanka.

The Introduction reviews the historical and archaeological significance of Anurādhapura, discusses the concept of tradition, and considers constructional methods and the relationship between formal and organic architecture. Section One deals with the monastic plan and examines the major types of monastery or sub-monastery. Section Two explores the form and development of the main building types in the monasteries. Section Three discusses architectural form and style. It argues that the essentially mixed brick-and-timber architecture of Anurādhapura is a classic expression of the Sinhalese tradition with its roots in the organic building conventions of the country, but is also a particular and distinctive characterisation of the architecture of Monsoon Asia to be viewed within the broad perspective of the unity and differentiation of cultures in the region.

Senake Bandaranayake is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya. He has published over a hundred research papers and authored or edited a number of books including The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka (1996) and most recently Sigiriya: City, Palace, Gardens, Monasteries, Paintings (2005) and The University of the Future and the Culture of Learning (2007).