RASSL Monthly Lecture
“Iconographic Representation of Bodhisatvas Avalokiteshvara and Maitriya in Sinhalese Buddhism”
Vidyajothi Professor Nimal de Silva
on Monday, 29th May 2023
at 5.00 p.m.
at Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka
96, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7
All are Welcome
Meeting ID: 829 9470 3015 Passcode: 253744
Lecture Medium – English
With the development of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy in India circa the 3rd century AD and being introduced into the
stream of Sinhalese Buddhist culture in parallel with Theravada practices, the Mahayana Silpa text written in 5th
century AD, named Manjusri Bhashita Vastuvidya Shatra and Chitrakarma Shastra consolidated the Mahayana
practices in architecture and iconography. Accordingly, Kshitigarbha, Vyamagarbha, Avalokita, Viskambha,
Manjughosha, Samantabhadra and Maitriya became the eight great Bodhisatvas venerated by Sinhalese Buddhists.
Today they remain as archaeological features of Bodhisatva images varying in size from 4 cm to 1000 cm made in
clay, timber, stucco, metal etc., exhibiting sculptural variations to understand the chronological development and
their artistic representation. This paper will discuss sculptures of Bodhisatvas Avalokiteshvara and Maitriya images,
produced from about the 5th century up to date in Sri Lanka.