chapter  4
15 Pages

Buddhism and sensuality

Surrounded as he was with the revival of Buddhist practices particularly in Kandy, where the great Temple of Tooth is still the most important place of pilgrimage, George had even as a teenager been very influenced by the religion. He would visit the Malwatte monastery where, unlike in school, he was an attentive student and learnt both Sinhala and Buddhism. The typical objects of the monastery such as its brass vessels, palm fans and ola leaf manuscripts fascinated him and he would make them the earliest subjects of his still life studies. As he wrote to Len Van Geyzel:

This isn’t exactly the Braque style of line but resembles it superficially. Its evolved from certain line formulas suggested at the time I was trying to make sort of welded together compositions from objects like the vatahapatha (Buddhist) fan, alms-bowl etc . . . But I’m going to make another – bigger – of Buddhist objects more spread out and although actually connected by unbroken line less obviously so.1