DESCRIPTION: A large, handsome Burmese wood sculpture of a male Nat, or nature spirit, dressed in traditional attire and engaged in a joyful dance. Such images were first carved from wood, then laboriously decorated with applications of red lacquer then gold gilt. Dating from the early 20th C., it has been mounted on a rod with square base. Please see the last photo for size comparison with our other Nat, FIG56. Although not purchased as a pair, these make wonderful companion pieces. DIMENSIONS: 26" high with stand (66 cm) x 10" wide (25.5 cm).
CULTURAL BACKGROUND: Prior to the advent of Buddhism, Burmese were animists who worshipped a series of nature spirits called Nats. Later these were incorporated into Buddhism and often Nat statues will be found in Buddhist temples. These spirits often have their own ceremonies and festivals and are worshipped in addition to the Buddha. There are 37 officially recognized Nats, each with its own history, legend and image, all having important or heroic roles in Burmese history. The Nats, as spirits of natural forces such as water, wind, stones and trees, can take many guises.