3.0 LATE HISTORICAL PERIODS: 1250AD-1800AD
Sri Lankan art, in general goes through a phase of significantly
stylistic changes during this period, the culmination of which can be see in the wall
paintings and sculptures of the18th and 19th centuries. The classical naturalism of
the previous periods gradually transformed itself in to a highly stylistic art form, which
is nevertheless, equally expressive and vibrant as were the works of the classical school
of art in Sri Lanka.
After the collapse of Polonnaruwa kingdom in the 13th century AD, the
country entered an era of relatively unstable political atmosphere for 400 years
necessitating the administrative capital of the country to be moved to five different
locations (Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kotte, Sitawake and Gampola) and finally to Kandy in the
17th century AD. Some art historians believe that a hiatus occurred in the Sri
Lankan art tradition during this period and what happened afterwards in the arts was of
inferior quality. This opinion, however, is highly contested now.
Bandaranayake (1986) and a few others have substantially shown the continuity of the Sri
Lankan art tradition from the early historic periods to the late historical periods.