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Mythical Creatures

  As in Greek mythology, 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.


The 'grotesque' form of a mythical lion. According to Myanmar legends, lions are noted for their bravery and magnificence, 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.


This 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.


This is a mythical sea monster resembling a crocodile with a prehensile snout.

Pyinsa Rupa

This 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.


This is a large, long-haired wild or domesticated ox that greatly values its his hairs.

Manote Thiha

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.


The Myanmar 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.

Toenayar or Nayar

A mythical dragon or serpent with four legs.

Nawa Rupa

A combination of nine animals in one creature, similar to the Pyinsa Rupa mentioned above.


This 'grotesque' 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.


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. Kayar nationals they descended from Keinayee and Keinayar.


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.