Cultural heritage in Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

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The pearl of the Indian Ocean Sri Lanka, reflects a long history of its nations. From the archeological evidence of the prehistoric settlements and prehistoric human Balangoda man (Deraniyagala, 1998) to modern food of kottu like pizza to American; make the broad diversity of culture in Sir Lanka. By analyzing cultural heritage definition in Sinhala language, the definition given in the legislations in 1940, and its relationship with Athens charter and 1954 UNESCO convention, I will demonstrate the cultural heritage vision imbedded in the society through legal definition. Also, I will offer criticisms and recommendations for an improved approach to the definition of cultural heritage in Sri Lanka in broader context.

According to the Sinhala language,”Sanskruthika Urumayan” word reflects the translated form of the English word cultural heritage. The word “Sanskruthiya” means culture and “Urumayan” means both tangible and intangible remaining forms from the past to the present. Considering the legislation definition I have chosen to define cultural heritage according to laws of Sri Lanka, it is important to see the period of its origin. Sri Lanka, which named as Ceylon was colonized by British throne, from early of 1830s to 1945 February 4th Independence Day (citation). Therefore, the following legislation document of Sri Lanka was developed in 1940 under the colonial ruling before the independence and the word referred to cultural heritage is antiquities. According to the 1940 Antiquities Ordinance of Ceylon, it recognize any monuments that lying, being or found in the (Ceylon) Sri Lanka as the ancient monuments if they are dated before 1815. Also, it had defined a monument as,”temple, church, monument, other structure or erecti...

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...ity in the culture heritage these aspects need to be include. The inclusion of trees in the materialist antiquates system base on the historical aspect needs to change according to the Sri Lankan belief system. Because considering the belief context in Sri Lanka especially Buddhists have historically and spiritually important trees such as Sir Maha Bhodiya (sacred symbol of Buddha) which was planted in 3rd century BC (UNESCO World Heritage convention). Therefore, the inclusions of such heritages like nature should accept spiritual values. Further, it should expand to all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka .Even though the definition does not specify separate ethnic groups to have diversity in the country need to identify heritages of different nationalities in Sri Lanka. Also, the theme of property need to changes because value of each heritage cannot be taken to a scale.

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