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1/8

The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, often with dragon underfoot, was very popular in Sri Lanka.

2/8

This mourning Mary would originally have been part of a Calvary scene.

3/8

Madonna and Salvator Mundi

At 33 cm in height, this Madonna and Salvator Mundi is one of the largest surviving Sri Lankan carvings.
4/8

Ivory plaques were a Sri Lankan specialty.

This one shows influences from Albert Durer prints.
5/8

The elegant proportions of Sri Lankan Crucifixes were greatly admired in 16th- and 17th-century Europe.

In 1583 the secretary to the Viceroy of Goa was sufficiently impressed to write: “The archbishop was presented with a crucifix made of ivory by an inhabitant of the island of Ceylon, that was so artistic and masterful that the hair, beard and face seemed as natural as a living person, and so finely made, with limbs so well proportioned that one would not see its equal in Europe.”

 
6/8

The Tree of Jesse

Jesuits in particular were keen to show their new converts how Christian belief looked – and it wasn’t always that different from what Buddhists and Hindus were used to.

The Tree of Jesse appealed to Sri Lankan Catholic converts familiar with the Tree of Life.
7/8

Ivory box with mixed religious carvings

Sri Lankan carvings were sometimes a hybrid of Christian, Hindu and Buddhist imagery.
8/8

There was once a profusion of elephants in Sri Lanka.

The popularity of elephant-tusk ivory objects among Europeans greatly reduced the herds.