AGE: – 19th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Teak wood
DESCRIPTION: – Burmese Wood Carving Mythological Bird Hintha -Hintha with glass eyes, thayo lacquer and gilt decoration. Front section of base has had some restoration
HEIGHT: – 38cm
WIDTH: – 29cm
DEPTH: – 13cm
WEIGHT: – 3 kg.
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Burmese wood carving Mythological Bird Hintha or duck figure in Burmese legend originated from the Mon people of Burma, the first group of immigrants to occupy Burma, although originally from China they were of North Indian heritage.
The legend of the Hintha bird states that the Buddha flew over the place where Pegu is situated today. On looking down he saw two golden sheldrake birds, the female bird was standing on top of the male bird on a small rock. On seeing this the Buddha then predicted that one day a great city would develop in that spot. Today, this place is marked by the beautiful Hinthagone Pagoda.
Then there is the Shan legend which relates to a giant bird called a tilanka which carried a pregnant queen who lived close to where the Buddha was born from her home to a far away forest where she then gave birth to a baby boy. When the boy grew up, the thagyas (spirits) gave him a magic harp.
The boy used the harp’s music to lead all the elephants in the forest back to the place where the bird had picked his mother up. When he became king he called the kingdom Muang Mao, Mao meaning “dizzy”, because after the bird lifted her up she became dizzy.
The Mythological Bird Hintha or Hamsa bird figure as it is also called was used in many of the Burmese opium weights. The figure of the queen seated on the back of the Hintha bird are popular Nat figures and are depicted in carvings and paintings.