Antique/Vintage Chinthe Heddle Pulley, Burma/Myanmar (3303EKE)


Ht: 12”  W: 4.125”  D: 3.25” | FREE SHIPPING!

In Burma/Myanmar, heddle-pulleys are usually decorated with carvings of mythical or auspicious animals believed to provide protection to and assure good quality weaving from the weaver. This heddle pulley is surmounted with a carved chinthe, a Burmese lion depicted here as a powerful beast with its mouth open in a roar with a powerful neck covered with a thick mane, and hair piled on top of the head, all reinforcing his ferocity.  This fine carving is in excellent condition with few signs of wear and age and  is mounted on a metal pole on a black wood base. His feet firmly rest on top of the downward-pointing triangle and he pushes his body unnaturally high on its hind legs and bends its tail up and forward to touch his head. This tail-touching-head image is often used with Burmese heddle pulleys to highlight the area under the animal where the thread used in the weaving travels around the bobbin between the wood round triangle pieces holding it.


Carved Burmese/Myanmar teak heddle-pulleys were primarily used in strip-weaving, a process useing  small handlooms to weave long, narrow strips of cloth  later sewn together to create a larger textile such as blankets and ritual cloths. Heddle-pulleys are functional-and-utilitarian objects used in pairs and are tied together by a string that runs through a mechanism at the top of the loom. This loom was used worldwide and especially in Burma and Africa where the heddle-pulleys were made to be both functional-and-utilitarian and propitious artistic. Skilled craftsmen decorated them with carvings of symbolic figures, mythical animals, and auspicious beings reflected their cultural beliefs that included the ability of these carvings protecting the weaver and aiding him to produce high-quality weavings. The chinthe, a Burmese form of a mythical Buddhist lion, is a common motif that is a guardian figure and the protector of Buddhist Law strongly associated with Buddhism. Although Burma is a decidedly Buddhist country, its past was steeped in animism and shamanism that included the belief that inanimate objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence that may influence human life for the better or worse and, therefore, deserve worship or at least placation to bring positive energy or at the very least keep malevolent spirits at bay. The details of the lion’s coat is a very fine example of expert Burmese-carvings and folk-art. The lacquer applied on the surface is likely a 1970’s coating to preserve the piece,  is clearly a vintage rather than an antique item, but it is simply a gorgeous work of art.

Click here for the blog Burmese Heddle Pulleys: Functional and Aesthetic Weaving Tools 

Additional information

Place of Origin



Vintage (1920-1980)



Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 12" W: 4.125" D:3.25"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 30.48cm W: 10.48cm D:8.25cm


1lb 1oz


Very good, patina and wear consistent with age and use

Shipping Box Size

Reference Number