ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Return of Keppetipola s Cranium-Authenticity in a New Nation

Authenticity in a New Nation Nira Wickramasinghe This paper aims to show that the national identity of the new nation state, Sri Lanka, owes much to the colonial articulation of Kandyan things as authentic, by looking at one particular event of the colonial period which is the return of artefacts from British museums and private collections in the last decade of British rule, especially the return of the cranium of the Kandyan hero Keppetipola. This event is an important example of the grammar in which colonial ideologies were deployed, and suggests, contrary to nationalist academic thinking, a direct lineage between the colonial and the post-colonial state.

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