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20 Rupees 1990, Sri Lanka

in Krause book Number: 97с
Years of issue: 05.04.1990
Edition: 26 882 899
Signatures: Minister of Finance: Dingiri Banda Wijetunge, Governor: H. N. S. Karunatilake
Serie: 1988-1990 Issue
Specimen of: 21.11.1988
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 137 х 70
Printer: Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company Limited, New Malden

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Rupees 1990




The Sri Lanka Lion holding a sword (from the coat of arms) (Panthera leo sinhaleyus), also known as the Ceylon Lion, was a prehistoric subspecies of lion, endemic to Sri Lanka. It appears to have become extinct prior to the arrival of culturally modern humans, c. 37,000 years BC.

This lion is only known from two teeth found in deposits at Kuruwita. Based on these teeth, P. Deraniyagala erected this subspecies in 1939. However, there is insufficient information to determine how it might differ from other subspecies of lion. Deraniyagala did not explain explicitly how he diagnosed the holotype of this subspecies as belonging to a lion, though he justified its allocation to a distinct subspecies of lion by its being "narrower and more elongate" than those of recent lions in the British Natural History Museum collection.

N.G Krasnodembskaya, R.D. Senasinha "The Image of the Lion in the Mythology and Symbolism of the Sinhalese Singhals" (From Prehistory to the Present) ".

“The image of a lion is inseparable from the culture of Sri Lanka and its main population, the Sinhalese. On behalf of the lion (in Sinhala,“Sinha”), their self-name is “Sinhala”, which is directly translated as“ lions ”, and descriptively, with the disclosure of the true meaning - people of the lion's race". One of the ancient names of the island is Sinhala-dvipa, that is, the“ Island of the Lions”, and it was from him that the Arabian Serendib and European Ceylon, Zeylan, Ceylon, and others. Afanasy Nikitin in his book“ of the sea ”called it“ Silyan Island. ”Often, Sinhalese names and surnames include as an element, the word "sinha", as can be seen in the name of one of the authors of this article (it can be translated as "lion among the soldiers"). It is considered proven that the ancestors of the Sinhalese were from northern India. According to the anthropological type, the Sinhalese belong to southern (dark-haired) Caucasians, although Sri Lankan scholars like to emphasize the prevalence among them of Australoid features. Sinhalese belongs to the new Indian branch of Indo-European languages ​​(its close relatives are modern Indian languages ​​like Mar Athi, Gujarati, Bengali). The fact of the ancient migration of a certain wave of Indo-Aryans from the territory of India to Lanka is clothed in a legendary form: the Sinhalese consider their progenitor Vijay, the prince of the northern Indian kingdom, who was expelled from his native lands for "pranks". After long sea wanderings, the legend says, Vijaya, together with his companions, reached the shores of Lanka and found refuge there. It happened around the middle of the first millennium BC. But Vijaya still has its legendary, "lion", backstory. It is most vividly recorded in the Sinhalese Buddhist chronicle, called "Mahavansa." This text was recorded in the V or VI. AD The image of a lion in the mythology and symbolism of the Sinhalese Sri Lankitradition seems to have existed for many previous centuries). Lankan scientists adhere to the version that it was in the VI. he was transferred from Old Sinhala to the language of Buddhist scholarship fell. Several of the opening chapters of the Mahavans are devoted to the most ancient history of the Sinhalese. However, it describes a time that is already far enough for those who testify about it. Therefore, the events of that time, in fact the prehistory of the Sinhalese, take on a legendary mythological form. In fact, the first historical person mentioned in the chronicles is Devanampiya Tissa (247–207). At the time of his reign, according to these historical legends, Buddhism was perceived by Sinhals from the missionaries of Ashoka, the Indian emperor, who reigned in the second half of the 3rd century. BC. This date is the main one on which scientists rely in studying the history of Lanka. In general, it is believed that the main relocation of the Sinhalese ancestors from Northern India to Lanka occurred in the 5th – 6th centuries. BC. The “lion's” theme is related to even more ancient times, and the events connected with it occurred (if they did) even on Indian territory.

The legend is this: From the marriage of King Vanga to Princess Kalinga [the names of the ancient Indian kingdoms] a daughter was born, distinguished by her wayward character and fervor of feelings. At the whim of her desires, she set off on a journey, joining the merchant caravan. A lion attacked the caravan on the way, and everyone fled, except for the princess who loved the adventure. However, the lion did not harm her, but, on the contrary, he felt a surge of tenderness and humbly approached her. The princess fearlessly touched the beast, and a keen love feeling pierced him. Then the lion grabbed the princess, sat him on his back and sped into his cave. So the princess became the wife of the king of beasts (which, by the way, was predicted by her at birth). From this marriage were born twins, a daughter and a son, who, instead of arms and legs, had lion's paws, therefore he was given the name Sihabab, that is, Lion's Hand. When the children were sixteen years old, they, together with their mother, fled from the cave in which the lion kept them locked up, and went to Wang. On the border of the kingdom, they were met by one of the commanders of King Vanga, who, as it turned out, was the cross-cousin of the former wife of the king of the forests. He was conquered by the beauty of a relative, took her to the capital Vanga, and there he married her (the marriage between the Crossuzees was resolved). In the meantime, a lion left alone was scouring the woods and trees in search of the missing wife and children and terrified the inhabitants. His son, seduced by a large reward (three thousand monetary units) decided to take part in the hunt for a lion, and then King Vanga (he was a grandfather to the young man) promised him to return the whole kingdom, if successful. The hunt was crowned with a victory over a lion, but Prince Lion's Hand ceded the kingdom to his uncle, husband to his mother (and his grandfather had already died by this time). Lion's Hand himself returned to the forest where he was born and founded the city of Sihapur (the Lion City) there, and around, in the forest, hundreds of yojans (Yojana is an ancient Indian measure of length, the size of which ranged from 7 to 20 km.) many villages: so the kingdom of Lal was formed, where he began to rule with his sister, marrying her. This couple was born sixteen pairs of twins, all - sons, and the eldest of them, who later became the heir to the throne, was called Vijaya (Victorious), and the second - Sumitta (The Good Friend). However, the young heir to the throne loved to “fool around”, and with his antics in a company with 700 friends he caused a lot of anxiety to his subjects. The Lion's Hand was forced to expel him from his kingdom. Vijay and his comrades were put on a ship and sent to the sea. After long wanderings friends arrived in Lanka. “Prince Vijaya, a brave man, stuck,” the chronicle said, “to the shore of Lanka, in the land called Tambapanni, on the day when Tathagata (the Finding Path) was one of the definitions of a Buddha, lying between two similar trees of fat, preparing go to nirvana. " On the shore, which pleased them deserted and, therefore, the lack of danger, Vijaya and his companions met with yakkhini demoness. The first to meet them was a demon servant in the shape of a dog, carried along one of the companions Vijay (he thought that the presence of a dog spoke about the proximity of the village) and led to her mistress, demon Kuvanna, who was sitting under a tree and spinning like a pious recluse. With her magic, Kuvanna lured the whole "retinue" of Vijay, and then he himself appeared. Between him and the demoness there was a skirmish, which ended in peace. After this, Kuvanna, demonstrating her humility, returned Vijay his people, promised to get him a kingdom and share a bed with him. She provided Vijaya and his companions with provisions looted from passing merchants. At the common meal, Vijaya invited the demoness herself and even, as stated in the chronicle, "offered her the first piece." Very flattered, the demoness took for the sake of Prince Vijai the appearance of a charming sixteen-year-old girl, smartly dressed and decorated with jewels. The demoness kept all her promises: Vijaya withdrew her kingdom from the demons; she bore him a son and a daughter. However, later, seeking to become the “legitimate” king of the new state, Vijaya was forced to think about the “legitimate” spouse. She became a princess from Madura (South India), the daughter of King Pandu. She also brought with her friends and wives to comrades Vijay. Having married a princess from Madura, Vijay forgot the leprosy of his youth and reigned "royally and safely" all of Lanka from her capital Tambapanni for thirty-eight years. (Н. Г. Краснодембская, Р. Д. Сенасинха "Образ льва в мифологии и символике сингалов Шри Ланки" (От предыстории до современности) .rus")


20 Rupees 1990

Moonstone Moonstone

On right side are the steps and the moonstone in Anuradhapura (Kings Palace).

The architectural detail unique to Sri Lanka is Sandakada Pahana (transliteration from Sinhalese) or Moonstone (in the English version).

In which Buddhist temple or the ancient city of Sri Lanka you do not go, you can see the moonstone in front of the steps or directly in front of the entrance to the building. Therefore it is useful to glance sometimes under legs.

The Moonstone is a semi-circle carved from a stone in the form of a half moon. And in accordance with the opinion of scientists, it symbolizes the path of Sansara (the cycle of birth and death; the cyclical nature of existence) in Buddhism. Every detail of the stone has its symbolic meaning. And I propose to consider everything in more detail on the example of the Moonstone from the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura, who is considered to be the most beautiful on the island:

There is always a lotus in the center of the Moonstone. In Buddhism, the lotus is a symbol of purity and the human desire for enlightenment. The seeds of the lotus, falling into the bottom silt, germinate and tend to the light through the muddy water. In the same way, a person can break out of muddy mundane desires and passions for the light of enlightenment and nirvana.


The stone lotus is surrounded by half rings from a series of animals, birds, and plant plexuses. On the Moonstone in Anuradhapura on the way to the lotus (to read enlightenment) there follows a barrier from an intricate floral ornament. This interweaving of plants is called liyavel (liavel) and symbolizes trishna (or tanhu) - the thirst for life. In the teachings of the Buddha, trishna is one of the main causes of suffering, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. Further from the center we observe the procession of swans (very similar to geese). In Sri Lanka, it is believed that a swan can separate milk from water. Thus, a person will be able to separate the correct teaching of the Buddha from false doctrines or good from evil. Animals (elephant, buffalo, lion and horse) symbolize the four stages of life (birth, extinction, illness and death, respectively). Stylized flames on the border of the Moonstone are destruction and death.

Though looked like moonstones during the times of the greatness of Anuradhapura, after the decline of which, in Ceylon, the influence of Hinduism, as a religion, increased.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners, in words - centered.


20 Rupees 1990

Thuparama Dagoba

Thuparamaya is a dagoba in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist sacred place of veneration.

Mahinda Thera, an envoy, sent by King Ashoka himself, introduced Theravada Buddhism and also chetiya worship to Sri Lanka. At his request King Devanampiya Tissa built Thuparamaya, in which was enshrined the collarbone of the Buddha. It is considered to be the first dagaba built in Sri Lanka following the introduction of Buddhism. This is considered the earliest monument, the construction of which was chronicled Sri Lanka. The name Thuparamaya comes from "stupa" and "aramaya" which is a residential complex for monks.

Thuparamaya dagoba has been built in the shape of a bell. This dagoba was destroyed from time to time. During the reign of King Agbo II it was completely destroyed and the King restored it. What is seen presently is the construction of the dagoba, done in 1862 AD. As of today, after several renovations, in the course of the centuries, the monument has a diameter of 59 ft (18 m.), at the base. The dome is 11 feet 4 inches (3.45 m.) in height from the ground, 164½ ft (50.1 m.) in diameter. The compound is paved with granite and there are 2 rows of stone pillars round the dagaba. During the early period vatadage was built round the dagoba.

Orchid Orchid Orchid

At the bottom is, in my opinion, Orchid Dendrobium maccarthiae or Vesak (named locally).

Epiphytic plant with slender, terete, penduloses, pseudobulbous stems; pseudo bulbs 16-60 cm. long; internodes 104 cm. long. Leaves 4-8 x 0.9-1.3 cm. Flowers light violet-pink, lip paler but with a purple blotch in the center, 5.5-6 long, 7.5 cm. across, 2-4 flowered, drooping racemrs which measure 9-11 cm. long; peduncle 2-3 cm. long. Fruit a loculicidal capsule, 3.2x1.17 diameter. (

In the upper left corner is the face value by numeral "20", the right of which is the inscription in Sinhala, Tamil and English, "Central Bank of Sri Lanka". At the bottom of the banknote is an inscription - "Twenty Rupees" in Sinhala, Tamil and English.