An Introduction to Concept and Evolution of the Guardstone and Its Architectural Visualization of the Contemporary Religious and Cultural Diversities
Keywords:Ancient Sri Lankan Architecture, Buddhist Architecture, Building Entrance, Stone Sculpture.
AbstractThis specific study deals with a unique piece of Buddhist architecture, the Guardstone found almost in every part of ancient kingdoms in Sri Lanka spanning from Anuradhapura to Kandy period significantly. The Guardstone is an excellent piece of structure placed on either side of the first step of the flight of stairs at the entrance of ancient religious buildings or palaces in Sri Lanka. The origin of this architectural masterpiece is still to determine. Nevertheless, it is widely accepted in an evolutionary point of view that the guardstone has passed through several developmental stages from a simple slab to a highly sophisticated artifact in its dimensions, complexity and artistry. The numerous inclusions as well as exclusions from time to time to this artifact still remain uncertain as to whether they were due to secular or ecclesiastical reasons or simply due to the creators own culture influenced imagination. This study will peruse all the possible evidence that are available architecturally and to develop a logical reasoning for any identifiable characteristic and to elucidate with reasonable legitimacy as to how and why such a character is present or absent in a particular guardstone. This study in no way has any intention of rejecting or amending any proposition available at present but will pursue its best to shed light only on the attributes of a guardstone and to concentrate on the diversities of this beautiful monastic artifact that deserves serious academic study and meticulous aesthetic evaluation.
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