John Still in 1907 had observed that; "The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery... the largest picture in the world perhaps".
The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 meters long and 40 meters high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out when the Palace once more became a Monastery so that they would not disturb meditation.
Classified as in the Anuradhapura period but the painting style technique used to paint is considered unique. The line and application style of the paintings differ from the Anuradhapura paintings. The lines are painted in a form which enhances the sense of volumeness of figures. The paint has been applied in sweeping action strokes using more pressure on one side giving the effect of a deeper colour tone towards the edge. Other paintings of the Anuradhapura period contains similar approaches to painting but they do not have the sketchy nature of the sigiriya lines as the painting of the Anuradhapura period has a distinct line which was the artists boundary which does not resemble that of the Sigiriya style.