Parakramabahu Statue

The large statue facing the massive Parakrama Samudra Reservoir and in the vicinity of the Potgul Vihara monastic complex, courtesy of Parakramabahu I of Polonnaruwa is sometimes said to be a portrait of the king, and at times it is thought to be that of a sage. The figure itself was carved into a large rock during the 12th Century AD, and is one of the finest stone statues belonging to this period. Close to twelve feet tall, this statue is of a man with a grave, but wise expression with half-closed eyes and a sad smile as he reads from what most think is a manuscript he holds in his hands at around chest height.

He is bare-chested but for a thread thrown over his left shoulder. His weight is borne by one of his feet instead of both. Archaeologist Prof. Senarath Paranavithana adds that this statue is an embodiment of power and majesty, whatever the identity of the person and whether or not it is a proper portrait of someone of the time.

Written by Vasika Udurawane for

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