Sri Lanka was on the sea route of the Silk Road. Sigiria is located in Central Sri Lanka, 72 kilometers north-northeast of Kandi and it is an ancient citadel city built on a rock mountain surrounded by precipitous cliffs.
In the middle of the jungle, the weathered rock mountain soars 200 meters high into the sky and is called "The Lion Mountain (Sigiria)." Even now, one can see the lion's paws in the foothills of the rock mountain. There used to be a palace on the top of the mountain and nearly 500 painted images of heaven-dwelling nymphs on its walls, but 22 nymphs are all that remain, in the depressed areas of the walls midway up the mountain.
The nymphs known as "Sigiria Maidens" are painted in such a manner that their bodies are covered by clouds from the waist down. Overlaying the rock surface of the mountain, they are painted on a plaster base in tempera, a mixture of pigments and resins.
The maidens floating and scattering flowers above the clouds in heaven are lithely twisting their bodies and are shaded to create a three-dimensional presentation as seen in Ajanta murals. They are represented sensually in brilliant colors of red, green and yellow. The brush strokes are free and easy and uniquely expressed making them invaluable as 5th century murals.

Copyright(c) 2004. NII All rights reserved.