Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pyu Animal Farm



W e l c o m e  t o  M y
P Y U   A N I M A L   F A R M



Tiny Animals in the farm


These exquisite,  teeny weeny animal beads are from Myanmar. The seller said they were old so I am hoping they are from the Pyu dynasty (around 2nd century BC to 11th century AD ) but they have not been authenticated.


Animal beads of greenstone, agate,  carnelian, quartz and amethyst

Their sizes range from 1 cm to 2 cm but despite their smallness these wondrous creatures have been carefully carved and shaped. Their tiny but defined features can only be appreciated under a magnifier which gets me wondering at the magic fingers and super eyesight of  the maker. When I tried holding a piece between thumb and forefinger to look at through a  loupe, I was quite clumsy and  dropped it! Imagine, what it must be like to hold the stone and work it into these elegant birds, turtles etc.  Think they had super nerves too in the old days:)

In the group shown above, there are 7 bird forms, 1 flat rabbit, 1 curved, hump back turtle and 4 baby elephants. I will show closeups to capture the rich beauty of each animal. Click on images for larger pictures.

Starting from the top row, the  2 birds one of greenstone and the other of  agate look like some mythological bird from the past. Perhaps it is the mythological bird Hamsa.

Is this depicting Hamsa?

I also have a bigger version of this bird form and here they are pictured together as a cool threesome of Father, mother and child ancient birds ....

Cool Birds ! Are they Pyu ?


The next 2 birds below  look like ducks, one made of  flamingo red carnelian and  the other of brown agate.


No ugly ducklings these 2 best friends !


The next  pair of   birds may be carved out of rose quartz as the stone has  a pinkish tint. Bird on the left carved in the round, bird on the right is flat. Their wing movements in flight are beautifully captured.

.....you are the wind beneath my wings.....

The last bird in the group looks like a parrot, note the crest on its head,  and is a lovely lavender color. I am not sure whether it is made from glass or stone. If stone it could be amethyst but rounded edges seem to indicate it is glass.

lavender parrot

The  agate rabbit in row 3 is flat and small but the bunny ears, eyes and haunches are well defined. Like the birds in flight, this stone has also a pinkish tinge and could be rose quartz.

pink quartz rabbit

Next to bunny is an  agate turtle measuring 2 cm. It has an arch like shape,  with the shell rising up as a hump, head points down in front and the legs stretched out under the shell.


Arch shaped agate turtle


Although the shell measures a minuscule   1.2 cm a pattern of deep cross hatches have been painstakingly carved into it.


close up of the shell with deeply carved cross hatches

The last row shows 4 baby elephants in carnelian and greenstone carved in the Pyu tradition

Baby elephants measures from 1 cm to 1.5 cm


Besides these tiny creatures my Pyu Animal Farm consist of other bigger specimens which I'd show next.


Bigger animals in the Farm

This  group consists of four turtles and one frog  in various poses and positions.  The frog looks like its ready to jump, the black turtle has all its legs tucked in, the carnelian turtle's neck is uplifted its eyes looking out for insects, the jasper turtle looks like it is swimming and the biggest agate turtle, well guess its just meditating :)

Three more larger animal beads are shown in the picture below. One is a strange segmented piece made from ivory representing I don't know what animal. The segments are beautifully shaped and sculpted.  Bottom left is  a  beetle made of green stone or it could be malachite. The beetle's eyes are made out of  2 holes which have concave perforations. Under a loupe,  the concave perforations show ancient drill marks. Bottom right is a rather simple shell made from agate.



Segmented animal, beetle and shell

close-up of segmented animal
My last Pyu animal treasure is this  aggressive looking eagle with hooked beak and ferocious eyes. It is made of pink quartz and measures 2.4 cm x1.4cm. It is a flat piece with no perforation. The carving lines on its wing and body somehow remind me of Chinese jade carvings


Can he fly higher than an eagle ?


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  • Theft : a love story
  • The Uncommon Reader
  • Never Let me go
  • Angela's Angels
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