The Mystique of Sigiriya Whispers of the Mirror Wall

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RS. 12,500.00

Title The Mystique of Sigiriya Whispers of the Mirror Wall
Author W J M Lokubandara
About the Book

Special edition copy by former speaker W J M Lokubandara. With translations of poems from the rock inscriptions.

It is not often recognized that some of the most astonishing documents in the ancient world are the Sigiri Graffiti. Consisting of more than 1500 serving writings, many of them fragmentary, they are in a true sense unique, with no parallel elsewhere. Nearly 700 graffiti were read and published by Senarat Paranavitana in the 1950s and another 820 deciphered more recently by Benille Priyanka. They record the individual thoughts, feelings and emotions of hundreds of visitors to the remains at the historic palace site of Sigiriya – a World Heritage City – over a time span of nearly 800 years, from the beginning of the sixth century onwards.

The greater part of the Sigiri graffiti dates from the eighth to the tenth centuries and is in verse. These verses, which form the subject of the present book, are mostly poems addressed to the female figures depicted on the rock face above the Mirror Wall, a highly polished protective wall forming part of the ascent to the palace on the summit of the precipitous Sigiriya rock.

They are in essence poems about paintings, ‘art about art’. In W.J.M. Lokubandara’s Sigiri Gi: The Mirror Wall Poems we have the first book length literary appraisal in English of the poems contained in the Sigiri graffiti. The very title of the original Sinhala edition of the present book, Sigiri Gi Siri, beautifully captures the classic elegance and refinement of the Sigiriya poems, which occupy a distinctive place – literary, contextual and historical – in a widespread Asian tradition of epigrammatic poetry.

The English version of Sigiri Gi Siri, like the original publication, analyses the poetry with keen insight and sensitivity and introduces this modern reading of the Sigiriya verses to an international audience. It invites the attention of a wider range of readers, writers and scholars than those who have hitherto had access to the Sigiriya poems.

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