Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and eBook

James Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 892 pages of information about Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and.

[Footnote 1:  A species of lacquer painting is practised with great success at the present day in the Kandyan provinces, and especially at Matelle, the colours being mixed with a resinous exudation collected from a shrub called by the Singhalese Wael-koep-petya (Croton lacciferum).  The coloured varnish thus prepared is formed into films and threads chiefly by aid of the thumb-nail of the left hand, which is kept long and uncut for the purpose.  It is then applied by heat and polished.  It is chiefly employed in ornamenting the covers of books, walking-sticks, the shafts of spears, and the handles of fans for the priesthood.  The Burmese artists who make the japanned ware of Ava, use the hand in laying on the lacquer—­which there, too, as well as in China, is the produce of a tree, the Melanorhoea glabra of Wallich.]

[Footnote 2:  Rajaratnacari, p. 184.]

[Footnote 3:  Mahawanso, ch. xxxiv. p. 212.]

[Footnote 4:  Rajavali, p. 291.  The blue used for this purpose was probably a preparation of indigo; the red, vermilion; the yellow, orpiment; and green was obtained by combining the first and last.]

[Footnote 5:  Rajavali, p. 73.]



CITIES.—­Anarajapoora.—­Striking evidences of the state of civilisation in Ceylon are furnished by the descriptions given, both by native writers and by travellers, of its cities as they appeared prior to the 8th century of the Christian era.  The municipal organisation of Anarajapoora, in the reign of Pandukabhaya, B.C. 437, may be gathered from the notices in the Mahawanso, of the “naggaraguttiko,” who was conservator of the city, of the “guards stationed in the suburbs,” and of the “chandalas,” who acted as scavengers and carriers of corpses.  As a cemetery was attached to the city, interment must have frequently taken place, and the nichi-chandalas are specially named as the “cemetery men;"[1] but the practice of cremation prevailed in the 2nd century before Christ, and the body of Elala was burned on the spot where he fell, B.C. 161.[2]

[Footnote 1:  Mahawanso, ch. x. p. 65, 66.]

[Footnote 2:  Ibid., ch. xxv. p. 155.]

The capital at that time contained the temples of numerous religions, besides public gardens, and baths; to which were afterwards added, halls for dancing and music, ambulance halls, rest-houses for travellers[1], alms-houses[2], and hospitals[3]; in which animals, as well as men, were tenderly cared for.  The “corn of a thousand fields” was appropriated by one king for their use[4]; another set aside rice to feed the squirrels which frequented his garden[5]; and a third displayed his skill as a surgeon, in treating the diseases of elephants, horses, and snakes.[6] The streets contained shops and bazaars[7]; and on festive occasions, barbers and dressers were stationed at each of the gates, for the convenience of those resorting to the city.[8]

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Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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