AGE: – 19th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Teak Wood
DESCRIPTION: – Age related wear to gild and paint – thayo lacquer and mosaic decoration
HEIGHT: – 60cm
WIDTH: – 16cm
DEPTH: – 10cm
WEIGHT: – 3.2 kg.
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This 19th century Burmese teak wood Nat figure known as Min Maha Giri also referred to as Eindwin is one of the 37 pantheon of Burmese nats. He is known throughout Burma as the inside house nat spirit, or the house guardian. Maha Giri is usually seen together with a coconut red curtain placed at the east-south corner of the house alongside a Buddha shrine.
The Maha Giri nat stems from the legend related to a blacksmith who lived in Tagaung named U Tin Te, he was famous for his strength. The King of Tagaung was afraid of his strength and tried to trap him, whereupon U Tin Te ran away into the forest. The King called U Tin Te’s sister into the palace and persuaded her to beckon her brother to the palace. Upon his arrival at the palace, the King arrested him under a saga tree (Indian Champac tree or michelia champaca tree), and set him on fire, whereupon the sister jumped into the fire and perished with him.
Min Maha Giri and his sister were immortalized in the form of nats and brought evil to any one who came near the shadow of the tree. The King of Tagaung then ordered the tree to be uprooted and thrown into the Ayarwaddy River. The tree floated down the river and arrived near the Pagan kingdom. The King of Pagan made them the guardian spirits of Pagan and they were enshrined at Mount Popa.