In the last thirty years our acquaintance with the interior of Ceylon, a country four-fifths of the size of Ireland, 52s made great advances. The researches of members of various Government Departments have extended throughout the whole island, until it may now be said that there is no part of it which has not been investigated.
During this period, however, little new information regard- mg it has been published in England otherwise than in the Journals of various Societies, with the exception of some =xcellent studies of its natural history ; a work by Professor Rhys Davids on the Ancient Coins and Measures; and two Books prepared for the Government, one by Mr. Smither, the former Government Architect, containing au architectural description of the diagabas at Anuradhapura, and the other, ® Dr. Edward Méller, giving a first account of the ancient inscriptions.
Evidently the time has arrived when part of the other s=cently obtained knowledge of the country should be pre- seated to the world. My employment in the Irrigation Depart- meat from the middle of 1873 to the end of 1904 having given = opportunities of acquiring some information of the interior # the island, IT have therefore prepared the present work, wich describes some phases of the early civilisation, beginning wih the history, life, and religion of the aborigines, and ending, # regards local matters, with the village games. Although the subjects included in it are dealt with in a disconnected manner, it will be seen that they advance from the primitive Sages to more recent times.
The character of such a work must naturally render it more useful to students of the subjects treated of than attractive #5 he general public. For this reason it has been mv endeavour as far as possible to furnish accurate and detailed information rather than generalities among which the student might search in vain for the particulars he requires. I may be permitted to express a hope that my critics will deal leniently with the errors which must be inseparable from such a publication.
In transliterations I have followed Dr. E. Miiller in indicating by @ the vowel which appears as ¢ in publications of the Ceylon Government. The form accepted by me, when pronounced as a diphthong as in the Oxford Dictionary, both gives the sound of the letter and is historically accurate, the letter having been in most cases derived from an ancient a.
The consonant which is often expressed by v has beén repre- sented by either v or w, so as to be in general agreement with its local sound. In Ceylon it is a w, and any one who pro- nounced it otherwise in nearly all words would make himself ridiculous. In the case of Pali words, especially the names of places and books, I have used only the etter v, in order to avoid confusion through being in disagreement with other works. T aghere in general to the Pali forms of names.
I have to express my obligations to the Secretary of State for the Colonies for his readily granted authorisation to repro- duce sopae of Mr. Sniither’s drawings of the dagabas; and to my ftiends Mr. H. T. S. Ward, the recent Director of Irri- gation, and Mr. H. C. P. Bell, the Archzological Commissioner, – the former for permission to copy and utilise the drawings of irrigation works in his office, and the latter for allowing me to include in this work a description of some early coins in the possession of the Ceylon Government, without which the account of the first local coinage would have been incomplete.
In the various chapters in which it has been utilised I have acknowledged the information furnished by several kind friends in Ceylon, and by Mr. C. H. Read of the British Museum and Dr. C. G. Seligmann, to all of whom it is a small return to tender my grateful thanss.
Messrs. H. B. Andris and Co. of Kandy were so good as to bring about the publication of a Sinhalese work on the Ko- PREFACE vii
Bomba Yaka in order that it might be available for me, and to the kindness of Mr. H. W. Codrington, of the Civil Service, I am indebted for native accounts of this deity compiled in various provinces. To my friend the late Dr. Paul Gold- schmidt I owe my interest in the early inscriptions.
With regard to the scales of the drawings, which are usually expressed in fractions, the denominator divided by twelve gives thé number of feet equal to one inch.
Through an inadvertence the word Vvadha appears in som places as Vyada.