GuardstoneWritten by චාන්දනී තෙන්නකෝන්
This is half circled in shape and can be seen in the entrance to buildings or to the temples in ancient times, in between the moonstone and the balustrade. They can be found with or without engravings. It is as old as the moonstone and created for the beauty, the security, and the technical needs and as an auspicious symbol.
The guardstone in the early period was without the engravings and later it was added a carving of a punkalasa with spreading flowers and leaves. It could be merely for the beauty.
In one of the evolutionary steps of the guardstone a stylistic punkalasa was included. Not only the flowers and leaves, it was plenty of lotus flowers and can be identified as an auspicious symbol.
In the most evolutionary stage of the moonstone, the naaraja carving is added. Zoomorphic sculptures of cobras have been inserted. The aim of this could be to implement the idea of respect and security when entering to a place.
It may have helped in holding the balustrade and the beam mightily. When they are kept so close to each other, it could have made it beautiful and strong.
Evolution of the Guardstone
1 situation – curved at the top, without engravings and a square shaped stone slab
3 situation - The first engraving added;punkalasa . An evident is found in Wijayaramaya - Anuradhapura
4 situation - The naaraja carving is added.
5 situation - The guardstone with dwarfs is found in Tholuvila, the Abhayagiriya pagoda in Anuradhapura, the palace of King Maha Wijayaba.
6 situation - The most advanced phase in the development of the guardstone is the sculptured of a cobra.