AGE: – 18th – 19th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Alabaster
DESCRIPTION: – Burmese Mythological Marble Temple Guardian – Manotethiha – edges around base chipped, lacquer coating worn
HEIGHT: – 34.5
WIDTH: – 20.5
DEPTH: – 20.5
WEIGHT: – 13.45 kg.
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Burmese Mythological Marble Temple Guardian Manotethiha also known as Manaukthiha. A supernatural creature in Burmese folklore and myth. Manotethiha is shown with a lions hindquarters, a man’s torso, and the head of a nat.
Legend has it that the creature was brought to life by Buddhist monks in the 3rd century A.D., to protect the Mon people from an ogre and ogress that terrorized the countryside by eating small children.
The figure of Manotethiha can be seen on many old pagodas throughout Myanmar, they are usually placed on each corner of the pagoda or temple as guardians. The Htuparyon Pagoda in Mrauk-U erected by King Minranaung, of the sixth Mrauk-U dynasty in 1494 A.D., shows one of these figures placed at each corner of the pagoda.
In the year 1612 A.D. King Minkhamaung and his chief queen Shin Htway rebuilt Htuparyon Pagoda. Each corner of this pagoda is guarded by the figure of a lions hind quarters and the head of a nat. The remaining walls are thought to be that of an ordination hall for Buddhist monks.