NAGA MAEDAW SERPENT
52 x 19 x 15 in
Porcelain, glaze and oxides, luster
Collection of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation
This piece was inspired by my visits to a Mya Nan Nwe Temple which houses Naga Mae Daw Shrine in my old neighborhood in Botataung. The Temple is located in Botataung Pagoda (translating one thousand military officers) which enshrined relics of Buddha’s hair in its interior sanctum. The temple is located across the entrance of the pagoda dedicated to a devoted Buddhist woman who once lived named, Mya Nan Nwe. She was believed to be the reincarnation of a dragon. This process of how a real person becomes mythologized is fascinating to me.
In this sculpture, I expressed Naga Maedaw's form as a hybridized being between anthropomorphic creature and the serpentine, lending her resemblance to a mythical creature in Chinese creationist story, Nu Wa, the mother Goddess of the universe and the creator of human beings. The Chinese myth narrates that Nu Wa created human beings in resemblance of her upper half of the body; her lower half, being a serpent. As an ethnic Chinese in Myanmar, I am interested in creating mythical beings with influences from both Chinese and Southeast Asian elements.