Traditional Arts and Crafts

The story of Sri Lanka’s arts and crafts comes from within one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It dates back to thousands of years and is firmly rooted in authentic culture. Its colours, sounds, rhythm, and shapes run through the course of history. From the art of puppetry to drum-making, the island’s artistic flair never fails to amaze those who encounter it. Sri Lankan art history that emerged with the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka is the most dominant. From cave paintings to rock sculptures, the ancient kingdoms of the nation provide stunning evidence of skillful artistry from bygone eras. Sigiriya frescoes, Dambulla cave paintings and sculptures, and stone carvings of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa have earned their reputation worldwide. The Kandyan dancers, the folklore masks, handloom fabric, Beeralu lace making, and lacquer work in Sri Lanka are unique to the island. Sri Lanka also holds one of the most popular literature events – the Galle literary festival.

Tips to remember

  • Have your translator by your side for valuable explanations
  • Take part in activities only after demonstrations
  • When visiting temples wear modest clothes
  • Ask permission first before photographing artists
  • If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask
  • Ask your tour guide’s help, when purchasing items