The Ceylon [now Sri Lanka] Chronicle (Mah-mvam-sa)) is primarily a history of Buddhism in Ceylon though it gives reliable information on political history. It is perhaps unjust to maintain that India had no sense of history whatever, but what interest she had in her own past was generally concentrated on the fabulous kings of a legendary golden age, rather than the great empires which had risen and fallen in historical times. (Basham, 1954, p. 44)
Literature and art reflected the lives of the ruling class along side those historical narratives of Buddha, as can be seen in the first example. Medieval revivals also attempted to rejoin these depictions through restorative works that demanded the attention of many to the idea of a foreign king effectively expressing the Sinhalese culture. (Holt, 1996, p. 41) the tradition is long standing in the region and reflections of this aesthetic alteration can be seen in most of the Theravada tradition, with and without the interference of colonialism, but mostly with. (Jackson, 2004, 219)
These two works show a demonstrative juxtaposition of the Theravada tradition as one that allowed both historical and current events to drive art and representation of relationships and culture. The faith is a highly human faith, that values human relationships and actions as well as historical creations of events that alter the coarse of human history and are capable of being shown as allegorical reactions to the world, to even the most modern of worshipers and viewers.
Basham, a.L. (1954). III History: Ancient and MedievalEmpires. In the Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent before the Coming of the Muslims (pp. 44-78). New York: Grove Press. Retrieved May 13, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=6357327
Basham, a.L. (1954). The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent before the Coming of the Muslims. New York: Grove Press.
This work demonstrates the historical context of the region, in relation to faith and art as well as the political. It demonstrates the modern emphasis on rediscovering treasures of ancient and modern faiths.
Gombrich, R.F. (1988). Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. London: Routledge.
This work gives canonical explanations of the values of the philosophy lending insight into the imagery of the periods of Buddhism in the Theravada tradition.
Hallisey, C. (2003). 12 Works and Persons in Sinhala Literary Culture. In Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia, Pollock, S. (Ed.) (pp. 689-743). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
This work demonstrates that the literary tradition of the classical and other periods also reflects the tradition of royalty as appropriate and common literary focuses.
Holt, J.C. (1996). The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art, and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka. New York: Oxford University Press.
This work discusses various colonial and postcolonial revivals, this particular one being in the medieval era to rediscover and restore traditional imagery and buildings in the Sri Lankan area to their former glory.
Jackson, P.A. (2004). The Performative State: Semi-Coloniality and the Tyranny of Images in Modern Thailand. SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 19(2), 219.
This work demonstrates theatrical traditions that further build the ideal of the royal as a character appropriate for depiction in highly spiritual and historical representations in the region, where Theravada Buddhism is popular.
Rowland, B. (1953). The Art and Architecture of India: Buddhist, Hindu, Jain. London: Penguin Books.
Rowland creates a synthesis of idea by describing the major and minor artistic works of the region of Theravada Buddhism, including Ceylon, which is now known as Sri Lanka.