AGE: – Late 19th – Early 20th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Teak Wood
DESCRIPTION: – Antique Burmese Mandalay Teak Wood Deva Nat, gilded with Thayo Lacquer and glass mosaic decoration. Some repairs to the earnings where they are attached to the ears and age related wear to gilding. Red thayo lacquer showing in places where the gild has worn, Stone eyes.
HEIGHT: – 105cm
BASE DIAMETER – 21cm
WEIGHT: – 12.9 kg.
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A beautiful and highly decorative Antique Burmese Mandalay Teak Wood Deva Nat standing on a single lotus pedestal. The Face, feet, hands and pedestal are painted with natural pigments, eyes are stone with green and red glass mosaics decorating the apparel.
This Nat represents one of the pantheon of 37 main Nat’s, many of these Nats are depicted in a similar style of clothing with flanges and pointed finials.
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Animist beliefs in the form of nat and spirit worship was the main form of worship before King Anawrahta, the founder of the Pagan Empire introduced Theravada Buddhism in the 11th century. In order to unify and convert his subjects to Buddhism, and realizing the difficulties and obstacles he faced if he were to ban nat worship, decided to acknowledge thirty six, excluding one of the nat cult figures, placing them under the authority of Sakka, the guardian of Theravada Buddhism in Burma, thus allowing nat and spirit worship to coexist alongside Buddhism.
Nats represent ghosts or spirits of departed heroes from real life as well as folklore and legend. According to Paul Strachans study on the 37 Nats, many of the present day popular Nats evolved from the 13th to 17th century. Other writings related to the thirty seven Nats suggest that they are the spirits of those who died a violent death, which according to the Burmese prevents them from reincarnating which would then allow malevolent spirits to roam freely and potentially dangerous.
Shrines devoted to nat and spirit worship can be seen in the countryside, temples and pagodas all over Myanmar, and many people still have a nat image or statue in their homes for many different reasons, to bring good luck, ward of bad luck or for protection.
Excellent article on Nat worship in Myanmar