In Burma, the popularity of spirit guardians called Nat date back to pre-Buddhist animist beliefs. Wood carvings of Nat are found in homes and on the platforms of Buddhist shrines.
Her story: Mai Wunna was a flower-eating ogress of Mount Popa, an extinct volcano 50 kilometres southeast of Bagan. The word Popa is derived from the Pali word for flower. According to legend, King Anawrahta of Bagan ordered Byatta, a mythical person of Indian descent endowed with supernatural powers, to fetch fresh flowers ten times daily from Mount Popa. According to legend, Byatta fell in love with Mei Wunna and conceived the two brothers, Shwe Hpyin Naungdaw and Shwe Hpyin Nyidaw. Upon the glorification of the two brothers into the 37 Nat Pantheon, the status of Mei Wunna was raised and she became the Queen Mother of Popa. As her title suggests, she has dominion over Mount Popa.
Height: 46cm, 18 in
Width at base: 15cm, 6 in
Period: Mid-late 19thC
Provenance: Yangon, Burma