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{"id":5362882969750,"title":"Antique Sri Lankan Silver Palm Leaf Book Covers, A Pair, Sri Lanka (ceylon) – Mid 19th Century","handle":"antique-sri-lankan-silver-palm-leaf-book-covers-a-pair-sri-lanka-ceylon-mid-19th-century","description":"\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eTwo very finely engraved silver book covers ornamented with mythical creatures in the style typical of the Kandyan Kingdom.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe first cover with a grotesque mask of a lion head flanked by two crocodile like beasts. The lion head or kibihi-muna with an open mouth, sharp teeth and pointed ears. The crocodile beasts or makara each with the body and tail of a fish, a crocodile face and snout, and a shortened elephant trunk.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe makara can be seen carved in temples and other religious buildings, and is one of the signs of the Sri Lankan zodiac.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eOn these silver book covers, the makaras are carved with great zest and appear as if they are moving forward. On each beast, the fishy scales are rendered in detail and the body is intertwined with the surrounding vine.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThis composition forms an arch – the kibihi-muna (lion face) forms the keystone with the makaras (crocodile beasts) forming the sides. This highly ornamented arch is often seen on stone and ivory carvings and can be traced back to the early Buddhist cave temples of India.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe central design of the second book cover features six birds arranged as a flower head – a design that recalls the intertwined depictions of\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003ehamsa\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eor sacred geese often seen on Sri Lankan silver.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe central depictions of each cover are set amongst nari-lata-vela, a mythical vine with women sprouting from its flowers. This remarkable vine is said to grow in the Himalayas and is based on the normal nari-lata vine.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eOn these covers the scrolling vine is carved particularly deeply and of shows exceptional skill. The figures have the upper body of a person with their lower bodies indistinguishable from the vine. On the first cover, the artist has paid close attention to these creatures and depicts them grabbing the vine with each hand.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBorders are of abstracted lotus petals or pala-peti, which are common in Kandyan art.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eReferences:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eCoomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish. Medieval Sinhalese art. 2d ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1956. 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style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eTwo very finely engraved silver book covers ornamented with mythical creatures in the style typical of the Kandyan Kingdom.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe first cover with a grotesque mask of a lion head flanked by two crocodile like beasts. The lion head or kibihi-muna with an open mouth, sharp teeth and pointed ears. The crocodile beasts or makara each with the body and tail of a fish, a crocodile face and snout, and a shortened elephant trunk.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe makara can be seen carved in temples and other religious buildings, and is one of the signs of the Sri Lankan zodiac.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eOn these silver book covers, the makaras are carved with great zest and appear as if they are moving forward. On each beast, the fishy scales are rendered in detail and the body is intertwined with the surrounding vine.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThis composition forms an arch – the kibihi-muna (lion face) forms the keystone with the makaras (crocodile beasts) forming the sides. This highly ornamented arch is often seen on stone and ivory carvings and can be traced back to the early Buddhist cave temples of India.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe central design of the second book cover features six birds arranged as a flower head – a design that recalls the intertwined depictions of\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003ehamsa\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eor sacred geese often seen on Sri Lankan silver.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe central depictions of each cover are set amongst nari-lata-vela, a mythical vine with women sprouting from its flowers. This remarkable vine is said to grow in the Himalayas and is based on the normal nari-lata vine.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eOn these covers the scrolling vine is carved particularly deeply and of shows exceptional skill. The figures have the upper body of a person with their lower bodies indistinguishable from the vine. On the first cover, the artist has paid close attention to these creatures and depicts them grabbing the vine with each hand.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBorders are of abstracted lotus petals or pala-peti, which are common in Kandyan art.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eReferences:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eCoomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish. Medieval Sinhalese art. 2d ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1956. Print.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eWeight 478 grams, Length 31 cms, Height 11 cms, Width 5 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eItem: #300\u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Sri Lankan Silver Palm Leaf Book Covers, A Pair, Sri Lanka (ceylon) – Mid 19th Century

Product Description

Two very finely engraved silver book covers ornamented with mythical creatures in the style typical of the Kandyan Kingdom.

The first cover with a grotesque mask of a lion head flanked by two crocodile like beasts. The lion head or kibihi-muna with an open mouth, sharp teeth and pointed ears. The crocodile beasts or makara each with the body and tail of a fish, a crocodile face and snout, and a shortened elephant trunk.

The makara can be seen carved in temples and other religious buildings, and is one of the signs of the Sri Lankan zodiac.

On these silver book covers, the makaras are carved with great zest and appear as if they are moving forward. On each beast, the fishy scales are rendered in detail and the body is intertwined with the surrounding vine.

This composition forms an arch – the kibihi-muna (lion face) forms the keystone with the makaras (crocodile beasts) forming the sides. This highly ornamented arch is often seen on stone and ivory carvings and can be traced back to the early Buddhist cave temples of India.

The central design of the second book cover features six birds arranged as a flower head – a design that recalls the intertwined depictions of hamsa or sacred geese often seen on Sri Lankan silver.

The central depictions of each cover are set amongst nari-lata-vela, a mythical vine with women sprouting from its flowers. This remarkable vine is said to grow in the Himalayas and is based on the normal nari-lata vine.

On these covers the scrolling vine is carved particularly deeply and of shows exceptional skill. The figures have the upper body of a person with their lower bodies indistinguishable from the vine. On the first cover, the artist has paid close attention to these creatures and depicts them grabbing the vine with each hand.

Borders are of abstracted lotus petals or pala-peti, which are common in Kandyan art.

References: Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish. Medieval Sinhalese art. 2d ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1956. Print.

Weight 478 grams, Length 31 cms, Height 11 cms, Width 5 cms

Item: #300

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