It has been a common observation that Sinhala culture was highly dependent on Indian art and culture. But this concept has been refuted by present day art historians. Some of them are of the opinion that art and sculpture of Sri Lanka did not came under the influence of Indian culture rather Sri Lanka has throughout maintained an independent tradition.
But according to some researchers following British approach, Sri Lanka paintings bear similarity to Indian paintings of Gupta and Pallava times as well with the Ajanta paintings of India. Some Buddha statues found in Sri Lanka seem to have influence of Gupta and Amaravati styles. Many of the British researchers think frescos found at Sigiriya resemble an Andhra style of painting. It is also believed that many of the artists of Sigiriya paintings followed the style of Ajanta School of Painting. Images found at Gal Vihara have close affinity to the Pala style of India.
Some art historians on the other hand point out differences in use of color and composition between Sigiriya and Ajanta styles of painting. Early Sri Lankan paintings are found in the remnants of Mahtyangana and Mihintale Stupa. Paintings of early times are also found at Gonagala and Karambagalala. Some art historians think by 5th century, Sri Lanka established its own style of art and sculpture.
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