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Title
Biso-Māligāwa
Creator
Bopearachchi, Osmund
Date Created and/or Issued
2016
Publication Information
Claremont Colleges Library
Contributing Institution
Claremont Colleges Library
Collection
Ancient Cultural Sites and Royal Residences
Rights Information
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Description
This is a moonstone or sandakadapahana - a semi-circular stone slab (originally rectangular in shape), which may be highly decorated or left undecorated. It is found at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading to a stupa or shrine or other edifice. The moonstone is at the image house, the "Queen's pavilion" - Biso Maligāva), and is considered among the most beautiful extant examples of one. Although considered unique to Sri Lanka, an early example is also found at the Buddhist Caitya, in Nāgārjunikonda, India, among other sites on the sub-continent. According to the late eminent archeologist Senarat Paranavitane moonstones symbolize samsaric life (endless life cycles). The moonstones were used as a paving on which to wash feet. In the semi-circle below that of the flame motif there are thirteen animal figures in three sequences of an elephant, horse, lion, and bull, with the elephant repeated a fourth time. Next to the semicircle of the foliage there are thirteen sacred geese, each holding a bud with two leaves. Finally, in the center of the moonstone is the lotus motif. The lotus is the symbol of purity and the symbolism of the lotus represents the pure abodes — those who have left their house and home must be considered as having attained the stage of 'no-return' (anāgāmi). More recently, others have presented different interpretations. See also the Glossary. Length: 9.5 feet. Width: 4 feet 9 inches. Diameter: 2.920 meters. Sculptured on gneiss.
Type
image
Format
image/jp2
Identifier
acs00620.jpg
http://ccdl.claremont.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15831coll15/id/720
Subject
Moonstones (Early to late Anurādhapura Period)
Time Period
Circa 8th century CE
Place
Abhayagiri Monastery
Anurādhapura
Sri Lanka
Relation
Ancient Buddhist Sites and Royal Residences in Sri Lanka - https://ccdl.claremont.edu/digital/collection/p15831coll15

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