top of page

Antique Burmese Nawarupa Spirit Mask

13" High x 10.5" Wide x 11.5" Deep

Nawarupa also known as byala is a chimeric creature found in Burmese mythology.  This nawarupa is pure folk art at its best. The beast is made of 9 animals, possessing the trunk of a naga or elephant, the eyes of a deer, the horns of a rhinoceros, the tongue or wings of a parrot, the body of a lion or naya, the tail of a peacock or yak, the ears of an elephant or horse, and the feet of a chinthe or karaweik. In the Konbaung dynasty, the nawarupa decorated one of the ceremonial royal barges.

Burmese Spirit Nat Masks are carved in the round, not to be worn. Their purpose in the Shan Tribe, was for protection often hung in the entrance of the village chief's hut. These masks typically have a Nat on top of a human or animal head.

The worshipping of Nats in Burma is part of a traditional heritage that is carried on from generation to generation.

The Nats of Burma make up a structured system of animistic spirits, predating the advent of Theravada Buddhism but coexisting with it and with other systems of divination and prediction such as astronomy and alchemy. The Nat Cult is oriented to handling immediate and personal crises and avoiding evil, whereas Buddhism, the dominant higher religious ideology in Burma, is concerned chiefly with rebirth and eventually with salvation.

The worship of Nats predates Buddhism in Burma. With the arrival of Buddhism, however, the Nats were merged into Buddhism. The Nats are an extraordinary mixed collection of deities, including spirits of trees, rivers, ancestors, animals, and the ghosts of people. They liked a peaceful life and it was believed that they could wreak havoc on people who annoyed them. Originally, they were numberless. But in time a canonical number of thirty-six was fixed for them, with the Buddha included as the thirty-seventh. Even today the Nats exert a powerful influence on the thought and experience of modern Burmese.

Hand-carved teak in Burma, probably from the 19th cy


Antique Burmese Nawarupa Spirit Mask

SKU: 7837
$545.00 Regular Price
$354.25Sale Price

Lazy Summer 35% off

    Return Policy:
    The customer is responsible for return shipping within 30 days of purchase.

    Shipping Information:
    Free Shipping on All Orders over $100.00. Typically your shipment will arrive in 3-5 business days but we are not able to guarantee an arrival date.

    Related Products