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Mythical Creatures

 

As in other mythologies, Myanmar has a number of its own mythical creatures that either resembles a real-life animal, or an imaginary one having a single combined form of several animals. Many mythical creatures originated in the life stories of the Buddha.

 

Chinthe

The Chinthe is a form of a mythical lion. In Myanmar legends, lions are noted for their bravery thus considered as the best guardians for religious shrines and edifices.

It is common to see statues of lions in front of, or around, the pagodas in Myanmar.

Hintha

This form of a duck is believed to have golden feathers, and is able to fly great distances.

It supposedly lives in large flocks, and is a symbol of the Mon people who believe their former capital Bago was founded on a site where a pair of Hintha had dwelt.

Pyinsa Rupa

The Pyinsa Rupa is a combination of five animals: elephant, bullock, horse, carp, and toenayar (dragon.)

An alternative belief is that it consists of lion, elephant, buffalo, carp, and hintha.

 

Garuda Bird (Galone)

Mythical king of birds. It has a beak, 2 wings, 2 hands, and 2 legs.
Sarmaree

Sarmaree is a large, long-haired wild  ox that greatly values its hair.
Toenayar - Nayar

The Toenayar or Nayar is a mythical dragon or serpent with four legs.

Manote Thiha

Manote Thiha is a fabulous mythical creature with a man's torso and a lion's hindquarters, which is always depicted in a squatting posture on forked haunches.
Nagar

The Burmese equivalent of a mythical dragon without legs or a serpent, which breathes out flames of fire and can turn objects or creatures to ash just by looking at them
Keinayee-Keinayar

They are a pair of very gentle mythical birds with a human head and torso. Keinayee is male and Keinayar female, representing a symbol of true love.

Magan

Magan is a mythical sea monster resembling a crocodile with a prehensile (able to grasp) snout.

 

Belu


The Belu is a kind of ogre similar to an oriental gargoyle. It is a common creature in the stories of the Buddhist scriptures representing a huge, cruel, man-eating monster.

Karaweik

This is a mythical bird that supposedly possesses a pleasant melodious cry. Traditionally, a barge in the shape of a Karaweik was used in formal ceremonies as a royal commuter boat.

 

Chinthe Belu Sarmaree Nagar Magan Hintha Manote Thiha Galone Keinayee

 

Manussiha (or) Man Lion


A Man Lion is a symbol that represents the guardian of a precious place. Such as the Sphinx of the Egypt, in Myanmar theses guardians are called as Manussiha (or) the Man Lion.

This creatures name has a blend of two Pali words. The first one is "Manussa" meaning a human being and the second word is "Siha" meaning a lion. The lion represents the strength of it and the human part represents the wisdom, converting it into a better creature. It can be found at each of the four corners of some pagodas in Myanmar.

Legend


The Manussiha is said to have originated more than two thousand years ago. According to traditional belief, it is associated with the coming of Buddhist monks Sona and Uttara who brought Buddhism to Suvannabhumi, not too far from modern Thaton. It was said that the royal city was plagued by ogres who rose from the sea whenever a child was born in the palace, invaded it and carried away the infant to eat.
 
Just as the monks arrived, it was said, the chief queen gave birth and a contingent of ogresses was soon converging on the palace. However, the monks prevented the ogresses from snatching the royal infant by using their powers to create a monster with a human head and torso on top of the forked haunches of a lion that was twice the size of the ogresses which frightened them and prevented them from carrying out their plans.

On that day, likenesses of this monster were drawn on various species of palm leaf to be worn as amulets to ward off danger and a stone inscription from the 15th century mentions that a stone sculpture of that monster existed at the north eastern part of the said city on top of the Kelasa mountain right up to the time of its inscription.

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