Painted wood 'Nat' figure, naturally eroded. Nats are mythical creatures in Burmese folklore and religion. These "spirits" are also worshipped in Myanmar in conjunction with Buddhism. They are divided between the "37 Great Nats" and all the rest of the spirits of trees, water, soil, mountains and etc. Burma is one of the most devoutly Buddhist countries in the world, but its indigenous tradition of nat worship is still going strong to this day. A variety of religious practitioners are associated with the animistic beliefs that spirits exist and may live in all things. Animism is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Animism is the oldest known type of belief system in the world that even predates paganism. It is still practiced in a variety of forms in many traditional societies.
Burmese believe in nats "terrestrial spirits that infuence human affairs". Many Burmese still worship them vigorously and believe that Nats can bring luck and prosperity to those who appease and worship them and brings danger and misfortune to those who do not respect or believe in them. There are male and female nats and most are malevolent.
This particular nat figure was acquired in Burma, dates from the 19th century and stands 21" tall, is 9" deep and 12" wide.