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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 13, 2018
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Valuable Ancient Objects to be Seen in Galle National Museum - Take A Glimpse into the Past

All of Sri Lanka is replete with an abundance of objects and venues of historic importance. The Galle museum houses a handful of memorabilia from the days that the country was under foreign rule.

1

Cottage Industries Collection

The old colonial single storied building though spacious and airy isn't massive from the stand point of a museum; hence it would have been of paramount importance that the space is utilized effectively. Thus, according to the collection of artifacts and through political persuasions the museum has been divided in to three sections, the first of which is dedicated to the local industries. Beeralu lace, probably seen in very few other parts of the world, is usually the focal point as they are intricately weaved and beautiful. The wooden masks which are a hallmark of Sri Lankan identity are another feature of the museum. The masks are generally shaped and carved to depict devils that as per local legends are known to ward off evil spirits and fears. The masks are colourful and definitely unique, but could be considered scary by kids. The museum also has samples of turtle shell jewellery, obscure as that may sound, once polished and glazed they look great with ethnic wear.

2

Furniture and Weaponry

The Dutch and the Portuguese have ruled the coastal belts of Sri Lanka at different times, while the British have then ruled the entire country for over a century. The difference in design and structure of the furniture are apparent when placed side by side. The evolution of technology and the advanced techniques used by these foreign rulers against the locals are evident through their weaponry. Since the building that houses the museum was originally built by the Dutch to be used as a commissariat the weaponry does not look out of place at all. There are many similarities between the architectural edifices of the southern area of Sri Lanka as a result of these foreign influences. May it be Galle hotels, houses, museums or public places, the short pillars, the verandahs and the long corridors are to be seen clearly. At the same time there are more contemporary structures used by hotels such as the Cantaloupe Aqua.

3

Sri Lanka China Friendship Gallery

The bonds between Sri Lanka and China spread far in to history, it is not just about being devotees of two sects of Buddhism but there have also been trade activities via the Silk Route. China being an Asian giant and Sri Lanka being a tiny pearl have maintained a healthy relationship with the former rendering much assistance throughout. This is the latest addition to the museum with portrays of the Chinese monk Faxian and some important naval officers. The findings of financial transactions through excavations are also included in the museum. Many of these artifacts and images have been carefully selected by the curators of the museum such that the highlights of the trade relations over the hundreds of years are depicted for purposes of education and documentation.