AGE: – 19th to early 20th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Teak Wood – glass mosaic and thayo lacquer decoration
DESCRIPTION: – Burmese Wood Carving Mythological Creatures – Good condition, age related wear to the glass decoration and gild worn of in places
HEIGHT: – 48cm
WIDTH: – 27cm
DEPTH: – 12cm
WEIGHT: – 3.85 Kg.
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Burmese Wood Carving Mythological Creatures decorated with thayo lacquer and coloured glass mosaics. The mythological creature on which the Nat is standing on is known as the Galon or more popularly knows as the Garuda. The Galon or Garuda is a well known mythological figure in the iconography and literature of Hindu-Buddhist in south-east Asia.
Derived from the Sanskrit: Garuda or “devourer” is a huge mythical bird-like creature, it often appears with the naga and Nats in both Buddhist and Hindu mythology. The Garuda according to Hindu myth is thought to be a lesser divinity usually the vehicle (or vahana) of Vishnu, the supreme preserver deity. In regional folklore the galon (Garuda) is an arch-enemy of the Nagas (usually depicted as a snake or dragon).
Garuda has been depicted in a variety of ways, although most often he has the upper body and wings of an eagle with the lower body of a human. In Buddhist mythology, the garuda is a race of enormous predatory birds of great intelligence and social organisation. Garuda is occasionally depicted as the vehicle of Amoghasiddhi, one of the five Dhyani or “self-born” Buddhas. The term garuda is sometimes even used as an epithet for the Buddha himself. Like the nagas, garudas combine the characteristics of animals and divine beings, and are therefore considered to be amongst the lowest of the devas or gods in Buddhism.
While the symbol of the majestic galon had been circulating in South-east Asia for centuries, it was only in British Burma that this mythology was evoked as a metaphor for the colonial situation. In 1930, the galon came to represent the Burmese peasantry’s aspirations to restore the banished monarchy by overthrowing the British (represented by the naga). By tattooing themselves with the galon symbol, rural cultivators exhibited their allegiance to Saya San, the rebellion leader who would be known as the Galon King. In time, the galon would become synonymous with the very notion of Burmese resistance.