Sigiriya Mirror Wall Once a Gleaming White Parapet Wall Built into the Side of Sigiriya Rock
The Mirror Wall Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, is now stained in hues of orange. When it was built by King Kasyapa over 1600 years ago it was a highly polished white masonry wall that wound its way precariously along the near-perpendicular western rock face of Sigiriya Rock. Commencing at the top of a flight of steep stairs at the Terraced Gardens, it traversed a distance of two hundred meters along a gallery once covered with frescoes to a small plateau on the northern side of the rock on which the Lion Staircase is found.
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It is believed that its mirror-like sheen was achieved by using a special plaster made of fine lime, egg whites, and honey. The surface of the wall was then buffed to a brilliant luster with beeswax. The wall provided an irresistible tablet, on which are inscribed the musings of many an intrepid traveler. These are known today as the Sigiriya Graffiti. One graffito states that the plaster was so highly polished that it reflected the fresco paintings from the opposite rock wall. It is one of the few structures at Sigiriya which has stood almost intact over the fifteen centuries. It is a testament to the ingenuity and workmanship of the ancient craftsman who built it.
The Mirror Wall is actually a parapet wall with a two-meter-wide inner passageway. The outermost section of the passageway is built up to create a protective wall. The walkway was paved with polished marble slabs. Only about one hundred meters of this wall exists today, but brick debris and grooves on the rock face along the western side of the rock clearly show where the rest of this wall once stood.
Holes and grooves chiseled into the rock on the opposite side of the wall suggest that these were mounting points for supporting beams of a roof.