« PreviousContinue »
after the middle of the second century B.C. He appears to have been the chief of this part of the country, and two sites are pointed out as places at which he dwelt, one on a hill near the caves, called Gal-giriya-kanda, and the other to the north-west, called Raja Angana, where remains of various buildings of some importance are to be seen.
The tradition is supported by the sizes of the bricks in the lowest part of the dagaba. They have an average length of 16.41 inches, and a breadth of 8-16 inches, and a thickness of 3.39 inches; Bt. is 27.6 and the contents 454 cubic inches. The contents indicate a date not later than the first century B.C., while the other dimensions probably belong to the period extending from the accession of Duṭṭha-Gāmiņi to the early part of the first century, this being evidently a time when larger dimensions than those of either earlier or later bricks were sometimes adopted. These bricks resemble those at some caves at Nuwara-kanda, in the North-western Province, where an inscription was cut which appears to contain a reference to King Duṭṭha-Gāmiņi.1 These latter bricks are 16.76 inches long, 8.76 inches wide, and 3.09 thick; Bt. is 27, and the contents 454 cubic inches. On this evidence I conclude that the dagaba most probably dates from the latter half of the second century B.C., or the first quarter of the next century.
In two of the Nikawāē-kanda caves, which evidently have been abandoned for several centuries, there are two ancient wooden statues, larger than life, protected by a thin coat of plaster, one of which tradition identifies as the figure of Duṭṭha-Gāmiņi, while the other is believed to be that of his son, the supposed founder of the monastery. The former statue has the high royal crown, resembling in general appearance those represented in reliefs at Anuradhapura, which at least proves that he is a king. A fragment of an inscription of about the eleventh century, which was found on a broken slab in one cave, may belong to the time when works of restoration were carried out at the caves; and possibly these wooden
1 See The Earliest Inscriptions, No. 58.
statues may be assigned to the same period. They tend to show that so long as eight centuries ago the same tradition regarding the founder was current.
About eight years ago, Sēlaratna Thēra, the energetic superior of the monastery now at the foot of the hill, undertook the restoration of the cave wihāra. Among other preliminary work, the heap of bricks in the lower part of the dāgaba was removed, and it was then discovered that the persons who rifled it, possibly the followers of King Magha, had not found the true relic-chamber, which was covered by a large stone slab in the very bottom of the structure. When this was raised the undisturbed contents of the cavity under it were found to be as follows.
One bead (Fig. No. 106), a little flattened at the ends, belonging to a rosary, 80 in. long and 86 in. wide. It resembled porcelain in appearance, but is believed by Mr. C. H. Read, of the British Museum, from my sketch of it, to be of glass. Mr. Read was good enough to write of it," Beads of this design were in use in many places, and at several periods. We have some very similar obtained at Akhmim in Egyptdoubtless Egyptian make-of an uncertain date, but quite old enough to fit in with the date claimed for your Sinhalese dāgaba. Others very like-N. European make-are commonly found in Merovingian graves and in the corresponding English cemeteries which may be dated as sixth century A.D. Of the two the former are more like your description." The ground colour of this bead is white, in which are waving parallel close black lines of varying thickness, except that in two irregular patches the colour is plain deep chrome yellow.
One rounded crystal bead (Fig. 105), 1-32 inches long and 1.12 inches wide. One spherical deep blue glass bead, not measured but like a small marble.' One translucent blue glass moulded bead (Fig. 99), 72 in, square at the top and
1 In the cave temple at Dambulla a wooden statue of King NiśśankaMalla, which probably dates from the commencement of the thirteenth century, is in better preservation than these, and it proves that in a dry site free from white ants such wooden figures may last a thousand years or more.
bottom, and having similar square faces on the sides at each corner, with the intermediate angles bevelled into triangular facets. All the beads were drilled for stringing.
There were also two pieces of a kind of hard dark brown aromatic composition, cast in moulds, and having a flat bottom and a rounded boss on the top, and blue-lotus petal decoration round the sides (Fig. 97). Numerous tiny specks of gold were to be seen in them, and, strange to state, they distinctly emitted a slight fragrant aroma when I examined them. There were several other persons present at the time, and all noticed and remarked on this long-enduring scent.
Lastly, no less than twelve karaṇḍuwas or relic-cases were there, of which ten were clear crystals and two were formed of glass, one (Fig. 104) being dark green in colour, and the other (Fig. 107) opaque pale green. These were both cast in moulds, and were broken when I saw them. All the glass except the first-mentioned bead exhibited some iridescence on the surface. There was also a clear crystal of a lotus bud form (Fig. 98). The illustrations show the shapes of the articles, and the various types of karaṇḍuwas.
The largest crystal relic-case (Fig. 110) held, it was said, one hundred and twenty minute pearls, all bored, and a tiny fragment of bone wrapped in a piece of thick gold leaf. Each of the others was said to have held a similar relic wrapped in gold leaf, and I have given a figure of one relic (Fig. 100) and a gold leaf package (Fig. 101) containing another, which were produced for my inspection. A much smaller package is visible in Fig. 108. All the cases had stoppers, but I was not shown those of the glass relic-cases. One of the crystal cases (Fig. 103) had a dark blue glass stopper, which was broken when I saw it. All the crystals were admirably cut by the aid of a lathe. There was nothing to indicate whose relics were enclosed in the cases, or by whom they were deposited.
These relic-cases furnish a valuable set of illustrations of some of the early types of dagabas. The tubular cavities in them are shown by dotted lines.
TYPES OF DAGABAS
The construction of dagabas has been practised for so many centuries in Ceylon that it is not surprising to find that there is a recognised Canon which regulates their general proportions, although deviations from it occur in every work. To what date it belongs is unknown; as it includes the height of the chatta it appears to have been written at some period not much later than 500 A.D., since the histories contain no reference to these terminals after the fifth century.
The Canon is found in a manuscript of which I failed to secure a copy, called the Waiddyānta-pota, and is written in a language which is chiefly Sanskrit, but partly Pāli. It was copied for me in Sinhalese characters as follows:
Thūpesu tāram kṛița panca bhāgam
Guṇan pamāṇaṇ tribhāga tungam
Padmākārāmbala shaṭ vidham
Thūpesu tāram krita panca bhāgam
'Having divided the width across the dagaba into five parts, (out of them) three parts are the height (of the dome).. Bell-shape, Chatty-shape, Bubble-shape, Heap-of-Paddy, Lotusshape, and Nelli (fruit) are the six kinds (of dāgabas).
‘Having divided the width across the dagaba into five parts, the length (of the dāgaba) is subdivided into twentyfour parts. For the three stories (or necklaces, take) five and a half; the chamber (dome) eight; the foursided enclosure of the Celestials (dēvatās) a couple and