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Five Antique Buddha Statues of Sri Lanka

By Devik Balami at
Five Antique Buddha Statues of Sri Lanka

Around 70.1% of the population of Sri Lanka follows Theravada Buddhism. Since the introduction of Buddhism in the third century, Sri Lanka has been a center for learning and practicing Buddhism. With the elapse of time, the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka has produced an eminent scholar such as Buddhaghosa and also the community has actively involving in the preservation of Buddhist Monuments and as well as vast Pali Canon. Currently, there are around 6,000 Buddhist monasteries on Sri Lanka with approximately 15,000 monks.

Antique Buddha Statue in Sri Lanka

Avukana Statue from Sri Lanka

Avukana Statue

The name of Avukana Statue came for the village Avukana which is near Kekirawa in Sri Lanka. It was carved in a large granite rock during the 5th century in the reign of Dhatusena. The statue is not completely separated from the rock, therefore, it serves as a support for the statue. However, the lotus flower on which Buddha stands alone was carved separately. This Antique Buddha Statue has a height of 11.84 m without the pedestal and with pedestal, the total height of the statue is 13m. The Buddha Statue depicts in a standing position with Abhaya Mudra posture and the robe is also carved elaborately.

There is a myth associated with Avukana Statue. It is said that Avukana statue and Sasseruwa, the similar kind of Buddha statues, were the result of a competition between a teacher and a pupil. The story of the construction of the statute somewhat goes like this- Once there was a competition of master and his pupil regarding time period to finish the sculpture- Avukaka and Sasseruwa statue. They both agreed to ring the bell to notify other about the accomplishment of the sculpture. The master manages to accomplish the statue first and won the competition. Since the pupil couldn't manage to finish the statue in the first place, it then remained untouched.

However, the above-mentioned story is just a myth. It was later found that Sasseruwa statue was built nearly four hundred years earlier to the Avukana Buddha Statue.

In the present context, the Statue of Avukana has become a popular tourist attraction and many pilgrims visit the site from all parts of the country.

Buduruvagala Statue from Sri Lanka

Buduruvagala

Buduruvagala is an ancient Buddhist temple which consists of seven gigantic Buddha statues carved in the rock and belongs to the Mahayana school of thought. This ancient temple is situated at about 4 miles southeast of Wellawaya in Monaragaga district, Sri Lanka. It was believed that the statues were carved during the 10th century. Even today, this large Antique Buddha Statue has a traces of its original stuccoed robe and a long streak of orange. This traces suggests that it was once brightly painted.

Among the seven Buddha Statues, the gigantic standing Buddha statue is carved in the center of the statues. This Buddha statue stands at 16 m which make the tallest standing statue on the island.

Towards the right of the Buddha statue, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, his consort Tara and the third one, prince sudhana are carved beautifully.

Towards the left of the Buddha statue, Maitreya Buddha, Vajrapani, and Sahampath Brama is carved beautifully,

Maligawila Buddha Statue

Maligawila Buddha Statue

The Maligawila Buddha Statue is located near to the village of Maligawila in the Moneragala District of the Uva Province in Sri Lanka. This Statue is carved from a single large limestone rock with the height of 11.53 m. The Buddha statue depicts in a standing position with Abhaya Mudra posture. The statues clutch the robe at the left shoulder and the right hand is raised towards the right shoulder. It was proved that the statue was placed inside the house which now is just ruins which surround the statue at the back side.

Samadhi Statue

The Samadhi statue is located at Mahamevnawa Park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The Buddha statue installed here portrays the Dhyana Mudra posture. This posture is associated with his first enlightenment. In Dhyana Mudra, the Buddha is seated with leg crossed with his upturned palms placed one over the other on his lap. The height of this statue is 8 feet which are carved from granite.

Toluvila Statue

The Toluvila statue is also a seated statue of the Buddha which is located at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. This statue is carved out of a single block of granite and is slightly smaller that Samadhi statue. The height of Toluvila statue is 1.75 m and is portrayed in Dhyana Mudra posture. It is believed that the antique Buddha statue was carved in the latter part of the Anuradhapura period. The statue was found during the excavations conducted in the village of Toluvila by archaeologist Harry Charles Purvis Bell. The statue was transferred to the National Museum of Colombo and is displayed directly in the front of the main entrance of the building.