Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple Colombo Sri Lanka

Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple, Colombo Sri Lanka

I have an older blog post about my family’s generational ties to this temple – even though its not exactly our “local” one. The post also blogs about the spectacular art work in the image house.

Found this article about “Sarlis Master”, the artist who painted the murals.

As usual, the Wikimapia location

Links to my other geoblogging posts are on the Geoblog archive


Link to images of Asokaramaya sculptures on Dominc Sansoni’s portfolio site


26 thoughts on “Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple Colombo Sri Lanka

  1. Greetings Cerno, Coinicidentally, I have just posted on pictures of Asokaramaya Temple (this is my local temple). One of Colombo’s nicest temples, it is well worth a visit. Would you have any information who did the sculptures? M. Sarlis would have painted them but do you think he sculpted the figures? I think they are very beautiful. Many thanks, Dominic


  2. Wow thank you ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve updated the links.

    I got a gut feeling that who ever did the sculptures must have modelled the figures (specially the minor ones) on real people. As a kid I always felt that I was in the presence of real people and not statues in a temple. I think its something to do with a subtle very human expressions on the faces. Or maybe I’m projecting too much.

    Unfortunately I don’t have much of an idea about the sculptor. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But the temple’s history is well documented by the monks there. A LONG time ago, I had to write a report about my “local” temple. About the same time I picked up a booklet put out by the temple about its history. I remember it being quite detailed and having to edit my report quite heavily ;). But the details were interesting enough that I didn’t get any flak for just having one source.

    Quite sure there is a copy of that booklet (or something like it) with the monks. Have you had a chance to check out the ceiling in the monks’ dinning all? The hall itself goes back to pre-independence days (think 1920s?) and the detail work on the ceiling is quite well preserved.


  3. I am the grandson of M. Sarlis. My father frequently took me and my brothers to the Asokaramaya Temple when we were small. I specifically remember him refering to the fact that the sculptures as well as the paintings were done by my grandfather.


    1. I am intrested in Sri Lankan art and have been collecting over the years. Was curious to know more about your grandfather’s paintings and wanted to acquire prints of his works .
      Would you know of publications on his art and also anything avilable.

      Thanks and regards

      Nalin Tomar


    2. Mr Nayanajith,

      My wife will be in Sri Lanka this weekend and i would like to purchase some re-prints of your late grandfather’s drawings of Lord Buddha’s story. The reason is that i am writing the story of Lord Buddha and have many digital shots of your grandfather’s drawings in the book. Somehow, i felt it is not right without seeking your family’s permission and believe the right thing to do is to have the real re-print incorporated into the book. Also the book was meant for free distribution to the Malaysian Buddhist. It took a good 4 1/2 years to read up lots of stuff from the greats like VEN. BALANGODA ANANDA MAITREYA , BHIKKHU NANAMOLI to PA AUK TAWYA SAYADAW and compile their writings into a compact story complete with drawings from master artist; M Sarlis. Funding of the whole works comes from savings and donations from friends. What we hope is that subsequent reprints will have more funding as more interest is generated. The launch of the book will be done by the Penang Mahindarama Temple.

      As such we would like to enquire how much will be the cost of re-prints of the drawings ranging from the very first where the Bodhisatva and mother shipwreck in the open seas to the very last where the Buddha entered Parinirvana.

      Please reply to the e-mail above and also my office e-mail at

      Many thanks, Sadhu, Sadhu.


    3. Mr Nayanajith,

      Thank your for your reply. But the site you provided is no longer in use.

      Would appreciate very much if you could provide another link OR an office address in Sri Lanka where my spouse can drop over next week as she is already there.

      We await your response in this regard.


  4. nayanajith: Thank you for that ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you put up some more information about your grandfather’s work on your site. Please let me know the URL when you do – I’ll link to it from this post


    1. I think I have an email address from Mr Nayanajith Premaratne when he posted his comments. Due to privacy concerns I cannot release email address to anyone without Mr Nayanajith Premaratne’s consent. However since you have posted your emali publicly I’ll just forward it to Mr Nayanajith Premaratne.


  5. Cerno : Many Thanks. At the moment I don’t have a personal site. However I am willing to supply you with any information that I know of these famous artists – M. Sarlis (Grandfather), M. Susil Premaratne (Father – the pioneer of comics in Sri Lanka, a famous singer & a watercolor artist), G.S. Fernando (was related to us & was a student of my grandfather. He taught my father & me watercolour painting. He was a genuine master of the medium. I think he probably is the best and most famous watercolour painter Sri Lanka has produced so far. He has done a few temple paintings too. When my grandfather expired in 1955, G. S. Master & my father together put the finishing touches to the assignments that grandfather had undertaken)


  6. cerno. I’ve decided to work on a website that will have links to the information and pics of the original works of M.Sarlis, Susil Master, G. S. Master, & myself, as soon as possible.


  7. nayanajith I’m Very happy to hear that ๐Ÿ˜€ Please let me know when its online. You’ll be doing a great service in advancing the knowledge of Sri Lankan art history. If you need any help/information in anyway please let me know. I’m sure there are people in the Sri Lankan blogosphere who would pitch into help with different kinds of expertise (specially via

    There are quite a few admirers of your grandfather’s work like Dominic Sansoni who has taken some beautiful photographs of the the Asokaramaya Temple. I think you should contact him to get permission to display some of the images or at least link to them. I will post a comment on his blog post about the temple that you are planning to document your grandfather’s work.


  8. cerno – thanks a lot for the assistance & keen appreciation.
    I have already assigned the website to a designer. Will keep in touch.


  9. Our institution is dedicated to the rare and original works of M.Sarlis (Sarlis Master) the pioneer buddhist revival artist whose paintings adorned every buddhist home in the 20th century his son and pupil M. Susil Premaratne ( Susil Master) his relative & pupil G.S Fernando ( G.S Master) & their pupil internationally acclaimed artist such as Palitha Gunasinghe, Basil Cooray are also available for sale.
    Priceless original paintings by these masters are available for viewing.
    We also do original paintings for sale & undertake assignments to enlarge these or any other given paintingto any size on any surface with any medium. This could even include interior wall paintings.
    Partners of the institution are Mr Tissa Hewavitarane & Mr Nayanajith Premaratne (Grandson of M.Sarlis and son of Mr Susil Premaratne) Colour prints on high quality paper could also be supplied on demand.
    There is a dedicated staff of three highly skilled permanent artists who can create any creative requirement.
    Any further informaton please contact on 0112-715986


  10. Nayanajith Premaratne enjoys the priviledge of being the Sri Lankan artist to have one of his paintings permanently displayed in his own gallery of;
    Master Artists Sri Lanka,
    No 8, D.J Wijesiriwardana Av,
    Mount Lavinia


  11. Our vision
    Our vision the country’s finest
    collection of contemporary art
    & wall paintings to grace every home
    Hotel & institution
    Our mission
    To ensure the continued growth
    & properity of the company by
    proper use of it’s expertise
    to satisfy our clients fully with our creations


  12. Life is made up of moments and choices. We can choose to do the small things we must do with great care, or we can choose to stay focused on the “big things” and miss everything in the process. It’s the small, step-by-step, creatively and beautifully engaged act that changes us and ultimately changes the world.


  13. In order to characterize the second, broad theory, let us take a brief look at those things that seem obvious and that generate dubious rationalizations. When one speaks of cognitive theories applied to art, often the only thing one has in mind is a diagram: in one box there is the artist’s mind, in another the mind of an observer, which are connected by an arrow that splits in the middle to make room for a box containing the work of art. (I could draw the diagram below, but refuse to do so in order to avoid spreading it even further). This diagram rationalizes and perhaps only illustrates common-sense intuitions regarding the function of cognition and the fact that art might be a type of expression. Through the work, the artist supposedly expresses himself or sends a “message” to his audience. An artist has something “to say”. And the audience must reconstruct what the artist meant: the audience’s task is that of an interpreter who, by observing or listening to the work and on the basis of personal knowledge and other background factors, is able to read the artist’s message.


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