« PreviousContinue »
The dome of this dāgaba was found by Mr. Smither to be a semi-globe, the centre of which is four feet above the basement or paved court-yard in which the building stands, which is raised six feet above the adjoining ground and is 587 feet square. The diameter of the dome is 310 feet at the top of the basal ledges.
It rests upon the usual three short basal cylinders, which
have a total height of 16 feet, the lowest one being 6 feet 6 inches high and 355 feet in diameter. The tee is 75 feet square and 33 feet high. It has a plain plinth, and a cornice of three plain overlapping bands. Each face has post-and-rail work in sunk relief, with a disk of the sun in the centre, 6 feet 6 inches in diameter. The railing consists of 12 pilasters each 2 feet 3 inches wide, and 14 flat rails, each 15 inches wide. The spire, which is 30 feet in diameter at the base, springs from a cylinder 15 feet high, and 30 feet in diameter; it is vertical
for five feet and above that tapers gradually. Bands of cut stone 6 inches thick are inserted in it, with intervals 2 feet 6 inches high. The face of the cylinder is divided by pilasters into eight compartments, in each of which there is a shallow arched niche. The height from the platform to the top of the tee is 187 feet 6 inches, and the spire, which is broken, now rises 57 feet 6 inches higher.1
Four wāhalkaḍas, 45 feet 6 inches long, were built at the cardinal points. Like those at the other great dagabas, they consist of a series of horizontal cornices or prominent mould. ings, separated by plain cut stone-work, and were about 16 feet high. Two square decorated pillars were fixed at each end, carved on the faces with straight-stemmed trees having leaves in pairs, or an ornamental meander springing out of a vase and having animals in its loops. On one pillar the animals are in pairs, one being on each side of the stem of the tree, and are climbing upward. On the side of each outer pillar are two Nāgas, or in some cases other deities, in high false relief, in two panels, one above the other, a male above and a female below. These pillars may have been flanked by a slab carved with a multiple-headed cobra in high false relief.
On the south face of the dagaba a small building, measuring 24 feet by 15 feet, was constructed, probably to contain relics or statues.
THE JETAVANA DAGABA
The Jētavana wihara is often mentioned in the histories but they rarely allude to the great dagaba. A reference to the repair of the chatta by King Dhātu-Sēna proves that like similar structures at the old city this one had this form of terminal in early times, and most probably from the date of its erection.
The plaster work on the dome was repaired by King MahāNaga (561-564 A.D.), together with that on the Ruwanwaeli
1 By the kind permission of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, I am able to give a drawing of this dagaba, reduced from Mr. Smither's elevation of it, with the exception of the restored spire (see Fig. No. 85).
and Abhaya-giri dagabas. Moggallana (608-614 A.D.) presented a new cloth covering for it as well as to these two works, and Kassapa II fixed a jewelled pinnacle on it, as on them.
Although the histories do not mention it, a stone pavement was wholly or partly laid round the structure in the tenth century; and the record is preserved in some short dedicatory inscriptions cut on several of the slabs presented by private donors. One runs Kasa himiya taebu pahana,' the stone placed by the Lady Kasa.' Another is Naga himiya panas pahanak,
'the Lady Naga, fifty stones.' A third states that the cost of two stones given by Kakawannaya was ran dasa kalada, 'ten kalandas of gold'; a fourth inscription records that a stone laid by another person also cost ran pas kalanaek, ' five kalandas of gold '-the same price.
The dagaba must have been damaged in the eleventh century, since Parakrama-Bahu I restored it. In the time of Magha it suffered like the rest, and was again repaired during the reign of Parakrama-Bahu II. In the latter part of the nineteenth century it was in nearly the same ruinous state as the other two great dãgabas.
EVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY WIDENER
The Jētavana is the widest completed dagaba in Ceylon,1 the diameter of the dome at the upper basal ledge being 325 feet. The dome is a semi-globe, or rather part of one, as the centre of the globe was found by Mr. Smither to be 9 feet 6 inches below the base of the lowest of the three cylinders on which it rests. The platform round the dagaba being raised to this extent, the centre of the globe is at the original ground level.
As at the other large works, the three short basal cylinders rise 16 feet above the surrounding paved platform, and the diameter of the lowest one is 367 feet. They form three steps or ledges round the base of the dome, each 7 feet wide. The lowest one is 6 feet 9 inches high, the middle one 4 feet 9 inches high, and the upper one 4 feet 6 inches high. The paved platform is 590 feet square.
The dome is surmounted by a tee,' 76 feet square and 32 feet 6 inches high, the distance from the platform to its top being 183 feet. The spire, 33 feet in diameter at the base, appears to have risen directly from the tee, with possibly at first a slightly narrower neck; it tapered to 24 feet in diameter at 48 feet in height, the point where the top was broken off. The height from the platform to the top of the spire was 232 feet when Mr. Smither measured it. Bands of cut stone 6 inches thick were laid in the spire at intervals of 2 feet 6 inches.
The tee had the usual post-and-rail work on each face, the posts being II brick pilasters 2 feet 6 inches wide, while flat horizontal bands 15 inches wide form the rails. A sun-disk occupied the centre of each face.
At the cardinal points there are four wāhalkaḍas, each 48 feet long, flanked by two rectangular pillars at each end; the
1 A still larger one was commenced at Polannaruwa by ParakramaBahu I, but was not finished. The mound which constitutes its remains, to the north of the other dagabas there, was about 50 feet high and some 350 feet wide at the top when I examined it many years ago. The Mahāvansa (ii, p. 259) calls it the Damila Thupa, 'the Tamil Dagaba,' because it was partly built by Tamil prisoners of war. According to that work it was the greatest of all the Thūpas,' and was thirteen hundred cubits in circumference, or about six hundred feet in diameter at the bottom, if the cubit of that time measured 17 inches in length. The diameter of the dome is not stated.
face work consists of alternate cornices or heavy mouldings and plain stone work. Elephants' heads project above the lowest cornice. The end pillars are decorated in the face by ornamental creepers, or Buddhist emblems or animals placed in the loops of a meander; and on the outer side of the lower and outer pillar by Naga princes and princesses in false high relief in two panels, one over the other, the prince being in the upper one and the princess below him in the other 1 (Fig. No. 8). At each end of the wahalkaḍas, and beyond these pillars, there is a limestone slab carved with a seven-headed cobra in high sunk relief, its body forming two loops on each side; a chatta or umbrella is usually carved above it. The Nagas and cobras were expected to act as guards of the relics, or the whole structure; according to the Dhatuvansa, Buddha on his third visit to Ceylon ordered the Nāgas to protect his relics. A relic-room 26 feet by 18 feet was built at the western wāhalkaḍa.
In 1887 and 1888, the late Mr. R. W. Ievers, at that time the Government Agent of the Province, opened a horizontal tunnel to the centre of this dāgaba, at a level of 33 feet above the surrounding pavement, and at the end of it sunk a shaft in the axis of the structure to a depth of 13 feet below the base. At a depth of 40 feet, or 7 feet below the pavement, a rough stone slab was encountered, under which was a small copper coin, having an animal, apparently a horse, on the obverse. It was stated by Mr. R. S. Poole, of the British Museum, to resemble the coins numbered 55 and 58 of Plate II of Sir Walter Elliott's Coins of Southern India, which were attributed to the Korumbars. It must have been placed there when the work was begun. The excavation of the shaft proved that in the centre the foundations only extended to a depth of 3 feet 6 inches below the ground-level. The whole inner work was found to consist of bricks set in a
1 They are only distinguishable from human beings by the cobras' heads which appear above or at the side of their heads, there being a five-headed cobra with the prince and a single-headed one for the princess. Some figures without these emblems may be intended for other deities (male and female) and one may be Ayiyanar (Fig. No. 37).