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row platforms round the dome. All are paved on the top with small blocks of limestone each 3 inches thick, 10 inches long, and 5 inches wide. There is a quadrantal moulding of limestone 15 inches high round the base of the lowest one. Out of the limestone coping of the retaining wall of the upper platform projected 133 elephants' heads, also cut in limestone. The face of the retaining walls of the platforms is built of small limestone blocks, the top course of the lowest one being carved with a 'Buddhist railing' of two bars in false relief, evidently in imitation of the detached railing of early Indian works. Round the upper platform of a broken stone reliccase, apparently taken out of the chamber behind one of the wāhalkaḍas,' a similar rail of two bars is carved; it probably belongs to nearly the same period.
On the top of the dome there would doubtless be a square 'tee' of brickwork, ornamented, as in the other great dāgabas, with post-and-rail work in false relief, and having a circular disk of the sun, the great demon-scarer, in the centre of each face. Above this must have risen the spire, tapering slightly, and probably, like those of similar buildings, springing from a cylindrical base. At its top, or immediately below it, there appears to have been from the first a solid mushroomshaped or lens-shaped chatta,' as a symbol of the royal honours paid to the relics, and perhaps considered to be quite as important as a magical protection from evil. The whole height is recorded to have been 120 cubits (Mah., i, p. 62), and the same figure is given by a later historian as the height when Parakrama-Bāhu I restored it. If, as is likely, the early cubit was two feet in length, this would be 14 feet less than the diameter of the dome. The top of the present mound is 178 feet 8 inches above the pavement at its base. The paved platform on which it rests measures 475 feet by 473 feet. 1
On three, if not four sides, facing the cardinal points, a
1 By the kind permission of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1 have reduced from Mr. Smither's drawings a plan of this dāgaba, and a plan and elevation of the Southern Wāhalkaḍa. (See Figs. Nos. 74 and 75.)
rectangular' frontispiece,' as Mr. Smither termed it, in Sinhalese commonly called a Wahalkaḍa, was built, projecting outwards from the dagaba. This consisted, in the face, of a series of tiers of horizontal stone cornices or projecting moulded bands, separated by plain smooth-dressed stone-work. It was flanked at each end by two pillars, a high inner one on which sat a lion, looking outwards, with open mouth, and a short outer one, on each exposed side of which were conventional decorations in sunk relief. In 1886, I observed fragments of gilding on one pillar, and of painting on another. Slabs with roughly carved five-headed cobras, and in other respects like those at the Jētavana dagaba described below, were fixed outside these pillars. Twenty-six elephants' heads1 carved in stone project from the plain course above the lowest cornice of the wāhalkaḍa.2
The object of these highly decorated offsets, each 34 feet 2 inches long, appears merely to have been to form ornamental and also protective backgrounds for disengaged stone flower-altars placed on the pavement before them. Steps were also built behind these wāhalkaḍas, leading to the two upper basal platforms, and a room for relics, measuring about 13 feet by 6 feet, was constructed behind each of them.
The Dipavansa states that King Bhātikābhaya (20 B.C.-9 A.D.) 'made strong pillars for placing lamps round the foot of the Thūpa' (p. 213); and the Pūjāvaliya (p. 20) also records the erection of wooden posts round it and the large dagaba at Mihintale, by King Mahā-dāṭhiya Mahā-Nāga (9-21 A.D.),
1 The elephants' heads at this and the dagabas next described were probably inserted for protective purposes. Those in the wall round the court-yard would have a similar function; others were also built in the surrounding walls of two other dagabas (Mah., i, p. 163). See my remarks on the protective power of all auspicious objects, in the final chapter. The elephant, as the Vahana or riding-animal of Indra, was a demon-scarer.
2 Although it is not a suitable name for these structures, since it commonly means the gate-way of a palace, I employ their usual colloquial Sinhalese title, in preference to Reredos. Frontispiece,' the term applied to them by Mr. Smither, is inapplicable, as they are in reality projecting backgrounds, and 'Altar-background' is cumbersome. 'Offset' and 'Screen' fail to indicate their chief function.
apparently in order that festoons of lamps might be hung on them. Similar strings of lamps were hung round the Ambatthala dāgaba at Mihintale, which is surrounded by two rows of stone pillars (Mah., i, p. 136). This certainly indicates the chief purpose of such pillars round the dagabas. After the original structure was erected, a small attached relic-house, of a rectangular shape, was built on the eastern side, standing out onto the pavement like that at the Thūpārāma dāgaba. The bricks behind it are 16.78 inches long, 8.26 inches wide, and 2.36 inches thick; Bt. is 19.5 and their contents 327 cubic inches. These dimensions point to about the second century A.D. as the time when they were made. It is possible that a room of this kind existed on that site at a much earlier date, and was replaced by a new building in the second century.
On each side at the bases of the steps at this dāgaba, as well as at all the more important buildings of Anuradhapura, a thin upright slab with an arched top is erected across the end of the balustrade. It resembles the stelae of Assyria on which the statues of the kings were carved. Many have plain tops like those of Assyria; others end in a blunt point at the centre of the arch. In the more elaborate examples the figure of a protecting deity is carved in high false relief on the face of the stone (Figs. 157 and 160); on others a vase is represented out of which spring lotus flowers, buds, and leaves; some are without any decoration of this kind.
An interesting feature at many of these stelae at Anuradhapura and a few other early sites, is a pilaster in relief on the outer side of each stele (Figs. 79 and 157), often surmounted by an animal facing outwards, which is always a lion, a humped bull, an elephant, or a horse. On the face of a guardian slab at Mihintale there is a bird-probably a hansa-standing on a pillar at the side of a figure of the Indian goddess Kāli or Durgā.
The function of these animals in these sites has not been explained; it appears to be similar to those of the processions of the same animals that are sometimes carved on the semicircular slabs termed Moon-stones' (in Sinhalese, Irahanda
gala, 'Sun'-and-Moon Stone '), which are often placed on the ground at the foot of the lowest steps at the entrances to religious edifices. Processions of this kind are carved in relief on the uppermost band of the wāhalkaḍas at the Miriswaeți dāgaba, which is next described. With these may be also compared the elephants' heads that project from the face of these dagabas, and the fore-parts of elephants that were built of brick and plastered over, on the outer face of the wall of the inner enclosure at the Ruwanwaeli and two other dāgabas. Processions of the sacred geese termed Hansa (which is identified with the Sun in the Rig Veda) are also carved on moon-stones; and hansas, lions, horned lions, and elephants are carved round the capitals of pillars at dāgabas and monastic buildings. The Mahāvansa states (i, p. 114) that rows of animals and hansas' were painted in the Ruwanwaeli relic-chamber, along with representations of the eight auspicious objects.' This appears to show that all these animals were carved because they were believed to have protective powers against evil spirits. This was certainly a function of the hansa, the elephant, the horse, the humped bull, and also of the lion. The whole subject
1 On one of these stones at Anuradhapura a half sun is carved, the central part having lotus petal decoration, outside which are the rays.
2 At Saesseruwa, in the North-western Province, Mr. Bell found a dog and a ram-like animal carved with the others on a moon-stone. (Arch. Survey. Annual Report for 1895, p. 12.) The dog was a powerful demon-scarer; see my remarks on it in The Earliest Coins. The lotus which appears so often on moon-stones and elsewhere seems also to have had protective functions. In Egypt it was closely connected with Ra, the Sun-god, of one of whose forms it was considered to be a type. Nu is represented in The Book of the Dead (Translation by Dr. Budge, p. 141) as saying, "I am the pure lotus which springeth up from the divine splendour that belongeth to the nostrils of Rā." In a variant of the same Chapter 80 it is addressed, "Hail, thou lotus, thou type of the god Nefer-Temu! I am the man that knoweth you, and I know your names among (those of) the gods, the lords of the underworld" (op. cit., p. 141).
In Fig. No. 78 and on the moon-stone above-mentioned it is represented as the central part of the Sun-emblem. I believe that whereever the lotus appears at the entrances of buildings and at the dagabas, although its purpose was partly decorative it had also a highlyprotective function as a symbol of the Sun.
is rather obscure; further information regarding it will be found in the chapters on the early coins and the Swastika.
In Fig. No. 79 I have illustrated on the right side one of these little pilasters, surmounted by a crouching lion, which is at the eastern entrance to the Ruwanwaeli dāgaba. The shaft is only 2 inches wide. On the opposite side of the page is an elevation of a detached square pillar (Fig. 78) 8 feet 2 inches high, of an early type, which stands near the dāgaba. At the top it has a procession of three hansas, each
carrying a lotus bud by its stem. The design below it is a Sun-disk, the rays being incised between the outer circles; the next space in the figure contains lotus petals, and there is a flower in the centre. A row of pearls (which were very auspicious objects) follows, and below them and separated from them by a row of short bars are two plain loops separated by three bars. The pillar is highly symbolical and protective.
In Figure No. 80 I have ventured to give a drawing which attempts to reproduce the outline of this interesting dagaba