Chapter 5 Reading Architecture in Landscape: Visitor Reflections at a Mirror Wall (Sigiriya, Sri Lanka)

In: Art, Architecture, and the Moving Viewer, c. 300-1500 CE
Divya Kumar-Dumas
Search for other papers by Divya Kumar-Dumas in
Current site
Google Scholar

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



An architectural feature called the Mirror Wall transformed Sigiriya, Sri Lanka in the 7th century. Between the 7th and 13th centuries, visitors inscribed their experiences onto this wall, telling stories of how the landscape had been planned to curate their experiences, although indirectly. This visitor record represents the set of practices for a new literary language made from spoken Sinhala. It required visiting the place, evoking mental images of its features, and representing those images in a highly regulated poetic text. Going to Sigiriya was a rite of passage for many—and an important historical event. It consolidated both an emergent literary community and its designed landscape through textualized response. Studied all together, this architectural location made to look like a mirror, its setting, and the visitor responses can alter our ideas about Sigiriya’s gardens.

  • Collapse
  • Expand


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 519 190 31
Full Text Views 9 3 1
PDF Views & Downloads 18 5 1