Polonnaruwa emblem of Lankan dance | Daily News

Polonnaruwa emblem of Lankan dance

The dance research of Polonnaruwa period in Sri Lankan history reveals how the dance has influenced another existing visual art form sculptures. Dance and sculpture are considered as twin art forms. Both these art forms are coordinated and interrelated to one another. The art of dancing in Hindu culture was an important driving force in their devotion and religious performances.

Hindu cultural influence penetrated in Sri Lanka during the Polonnaruwa period in Sri Lankan history. Dance originated before sculptures. The dance poses influenced the minds of sculptors. Different nuances of dance including the stances (Ishana position), hand gestures and limb positions influenced the minds of sculptors.

Further these were the guiding and driving factors for the creation of devotional iconography and decorative architectural sculptures. Besides these, all the Hindu icons of the Polonnaruwa period are one way or other way depicted with numerous dance influences.

Performing art

The stances, body postures, foot positions, head positions, hand gestures, ornamental decorations, costumes patterns and designs of the Hindu icons of the Polonnaruwa period are strongly connected to dance. The performing art dance is attractive in nature. It is full of rhythm, aesthetics and vibrancy. It is understood that all these factors of dance influenced the minds of sculptors.

The sculptors studied and absorbed the ideas from the performing art dance. And they applied and transformed their grasped ideas from the dance in their creativity in their visual art form. Especially in the form of religious icons and decorative sculptures.

The religious icons and architectural decorative sculptures produced during the Polonnaruwa period of Sri Lankan history ultimately revealed the nature and style of the sculptures produced during the time. On the whole, these sculptures reveal that the rhythmic aesthetic vibrancy, expressions, costumes, and ornamental decoration of dances were invariably reflected in the sculptural creations of the Polonnaruwa period.

This study is mainly confined to the Hindu sculptures and the decorative sculptures of the Polonnaruwa period. For the need of the study, the sculptures have divided the sculptures into two main categories. One is the Hindu temple icons and the other is the decorative sculptures of the Polonnaruwa period.

Different categories

Further on the basis of the texture of the stone materials, the statues of Polonnaruwa period could be roughly divided into different categories based on the texture of the stone. One is made by numerous varieties of stones; the other category is made out of bronze. The type of stones used for the sculptures were indigenous granite stones, compact fine granite stones, limestone and sandstone.

All the Sri Lankan Hindu statues were more or less found in and around the ancient archaeological sites of the Polonnaruwa area and from different parts of the island which belonged to the Polonnaruwa period.

The decorative architectural sculptures of Polonnaruwa period are directly depicted with dance influences.

Most of the decorative dance postures of the Polonnaruwa period sculptures are depicted in a continuous chain performing the horizontal level of dancing postures rather than that of the static frozen nature of individual dance postures.

This is a unique feature of Polonnaruwa period dance sculptures as compared to the nature of Indian decorative dancing sculptures.


 

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