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On the whole, it would appear that while definite rules depending on the widest diameter of the dome sometimes regulated the height of the dome, and less commonly the total height also, the early builders allowed themselves considerable latitude in determining the proportions of the various parts which made up the whole dāgaba. The height of the basal platforms was evidently fixed independently of the rest of the structure. In the large Mihintale dāgaba, the Abhayagiri, the Lankarāma, the Dakuņu, and the Jētavana dagabas, as well as in a later miniature stone dagaba next described, the breadth of the tee is not far from one quarter of the diameter of the dome. The height of the tee, and the thickness of the lower part of the spire were about one-tenth of the diameter of the dome in very large dāgabas.
MINIATURE DAGABA ON THE RUWANWAELI PLATFORM
An interesting small limestone dāgaba, cut out of a single stone, was placed on the pavement at the side of the Ruwanwaeli dāgaba; and not being a receptacle for valuables it escaped serious damage by treasure seekers, with the exception of the spire, the upper part of which is broken off.
It appears to be the work referred to by Niśśanka-Malla (1198-1207 A.D.) in his inscription on a large slab called the Galpota, 'the Stone Book,' at Polannaruwa,1 in which he records that he made a stone dāgaba [at Ruwanwaeli] as a worship-place for the Gods.' Excepting in the heights of the dome and the basal platforms, this work partly adheres to the Canon, thus proving that this scale was already in existence.
The diameter of the dome, according to Mr. Smither's measurements, is 38 inches; by the Canon its height should therefore be 22.8 inches, but it is actually only 19 inches. The total height, which is now 4 feet 2 inches, must have been very nearly according to the Canon. The basal ledges being lower than the Canon requires, the difference has been
1 Dr. E. Müller. Ancient Inscriptions, No. 148.
added equally to the tee and the base of the spire. Round the latter a series of reliefs of standing figures, separated by pilasters, explains why this member is termed the enclosure of the dēvatās,' the figures endently being those of the dēvatās who guard the structure. The series of shallow niches in the base of the spire at Abhaya-giri may have had plaster representations of devatās like those on this work, and it may be assumed that the other great dāgabas were all similarly supplied with guardian deities.
The three basal platforms are 10 inches high, the tee 8 inches, and the base of the spire 6 inches. Elephants' heads project round the base of the dāgaba, and there is a lion looking outward at each corner.
EXAMPLES OF TYPES
Of the six kinds of dāgabas, I am acquainted with no preChristian example of the modern Bell shape with the exception of the Idikaṭu dāgaba at Mihintale. The primitive type of bell which was usually copied may have been unlike later bells; and it is most probable that the Lankārāma dāgaba, in which a more or less hemispherical dome rested on a short vertical-sided cylinder of the same diameter, may represent the earliest Bell-shaped edifice. If not, we should have in it a seventh type, which the old authority would be unlikely to omit from his list.
In excavating at an early monastic building at Anuradhapura, Mr. Bell found a small copper bell with high vertical sides and a rounded top,1 which proves that this shape was employed in ancient times for such articles. Ancient Egyptian and some early Indian bells were somewhat similar, with rounded tops. There can be no doubt also that the common wooden bell which is hung on the necks of cattle, and has nearly vertical sides, adheres to a primitive type. The Bell dagaba of modern times copies the present form of the bell in varying proportions, and is now decidedly the favourite shape with the designers of these structures.
1 Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. Fourth Progress Report, p. 4.
The 'Chatty' or Water-pot shape has been abandoned, and was never popular. It is formed from the sphere, by fixing the base line at about one-quarter of the height, so that the dome becomes three-fourths of a globe. The only Sinhalese representation of it with which I am acquainted is the Tissa karaṇḍuwa No. 93, in which the greatest diameter is at about one-third of its height. This style of building appears to have been more practised in India1 than in Ceylon, but not in very early works.
The Bubble, or plain hemisphere, was the favourite design in early times, and it is still found in the case of many small dāgabas reconstructed inside cave temples. Nearly all the very early dagabas in Ceylon and India followed this type, which with its simple well-rounded outline is perhaps the most effective one for very large structures. A large number of the smaller dagabas had no tee or base for the spire, which in such a case was in the form of a monolithic stone pillar, usually octagonal in section, with a rounded top ending in a blunt point; it rose directly out of the top of the dome.
The Heap-of-Paddy shape is doubtless a very ancient type of dāgaba, which perhaps represents a form of early eastern tumulus or cairn. It consists of the end portion of a wide cone, with slightly curved sides and a rounded top. The restored Kaelaņi dāgaba is of this type and the Sēla caitya at Anuradhapura may also have been of this shape. It is not found in Tissa, nor in the karaṇduwas; but a few examples are to be seen at secluded wihāras, and although these have been restored after their original construction it is most unlikely that the form would be changed from another type to this unusual one. The tee in this dāgaba is commonly a very small one, but at the Kaelaņi structure the length of its side is very nearly equal to a quarter of the width of the dome.
There is a dagaba of this character at Oṭṭappuwa, in the North-central Province, which is attributed by tradition to Dēvānam-piya Tissa. The bricks in it are 18-60 inches long, 9.52 inches wide, and 3.12 inches thick; Bt. is 29.7 and the contents 552 cubic inches. These dimensions point to some 1 An example is to be seen in the Amaravati relief, Fig. No. 81.
time late in the second century, or early in the first century B.C., as the date of the work. An inscription 1 left at it by 'Siri-kaņa raja' (30-33 A.D.) proves that it was in existence before his time.
FIG. 113. Oṭṭappuwa Dāgaba..
At a dagaba of this shape at Wellangolla, in the Northwestern Province, the bricks are 3 inches thick, a size that belongs to pre-Christian times. At another, at Kahatagaswela, in the same Province, the bricks average 15-22 inches in length, 7.84 inches in breadth, and 2.65 inches in thickness, Bt. being 20.8, and the contents 316 cubic inches. This size indicates that they were burnt in the first three centuries after Christ.
The Lotus (bud) dāgaba might be expected to be of common occurrence, from the popularity of the flower as a decorative 'motive'; but it is one of the rarest forms of dāgaba, and I have not met with a single building of this shape. It is found, however, in the Nikawãē-kanda karanḍuwa numbered 104, in which it represents an unopened lotus bud. The crystal numbered 98 may be an unfinished karaṇḍuwa of this type, there being no relic-cavity in it.
The Nelli dagaba is supposed to represent the form of the fruit of the Nelli tree (Phyllanthus emblica), which seems to have been highly esteemed in former times, since it is used as a popular simile in writings and inscriptions. King Niśśanka Malla mentions that he had inspected all Ceylon and had as precise a view of the whole as if it were a ripe Nelli fruit in his hand. This is a small round fruit with a green rind,
1 See the final chapter, and Fig. No. 153 for facsimile. 2 Ancient Inscriptions, No. 143.