WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka

Dress and Ornamentation of the ancient Sinhalese

The Mahavansa, the ancient chronicle of Sinhalese royalty (5th century A.C.) and its sequel, the Chulavansa give us some idea of the dress and ornaments worn by the Sinhalese in ancient and medieval times. The Mahavansa states that the Yakkhini woman Kuveni, who later espoused the Aryan prince Vijaya from Bengal, was first seen seated under a tree, spinning. This event is believed to have taken place sometime during the 6th-5th century B.C., so that it is possible that the civilized segment of the country s aboriginal populace (The ancestors of the Veddhas, described in the Mahavansa as Yakkas , lit. spirits ) had acquired some knowledge and skills in cloth-making.

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