A Cingalese poem, descriptive of the Ceylon system of demonology; to which is appended, The Practices of a Capua or Devil Priest, as described by a Budhist: and Kolan Nattannawa: A Cingalese poem, descriptive of the characters assumed by natives of Ceylon in a masquerade. Translated by John Callaway. London Oriental Translation Fund 1829
First edition. 8vo (26.5 x 16 cm), pp.xi, [1, blank], 64, (65)-69 [advertisements], [1, blank], [2, colophon], 9 lithograph plates, 7 coloured by hand. A superb copy in fine condition with large margins, bound in contemporary cloth. Gilt stamp of Royal Institution on spine, and their rubber stamp on title page. Autograph letter from Abraham Mendis, dated 1889, to Trubner & Co. loosely inserted.
Two poems, and one narrative, which describe the demons of Sri Lankan cosmology, the practices of local priests, and the numerous masked ceremonies practised in Ceylon. This text was printed in the same year as The History and Doctrine of Budhism, by Edward Upham, who contributes a letter on the origin of Sri Lankan masks. The attractive illustrations are after a small collection of native drawings assembled by the translator, Reverend John Callaway. Gate Mudaliyar Abraham Mendis Gunasekera (1869–1931) was a leading literary figure in Ceylon. He produced a Sinhalese grammar as well as Sinhalese-English and English-Sinhalese dictionaries.