Antique Carved Ox-Cart Ornament, Burma/Myanmar (11168BLK) $395


H: 17.125”  W: 5”  D: 14.5” | CALL 213-568-3030 FOR SHIPPING

Burmese ox carts are often decorated with carved teak ornaments attached to the yoke/cart crosspiece with a similar function of protection and guidance as the figurehead prow on a ship. This ornament of a man moving up a hill is probably a Burmese nat that wascinitially brightly painted andnow is mounted on a wood and metal stand.


The ox (water buffalo) isa very important beast in Burma used for many things including to pull ox-carts and transport people and agricultural and commercial products. Hand-built, ox carts are the pride of their owners and decorated with carved prow-like items carved from kyun, a dense durable teak wood used for Burmese-carvings. Their size and the subject matter of these ornaments depend on the cart size and the owner’s wishes. Whether of mythical animals or birds, magical beings, folk heroes, or deified spirits of the deceased, they ornaments are said to have magical and protective powers. Set atop of the intersection of the cart’s long and the yoke crosspiece attached to the oxen’s necks, these folk-art carvings have a similar function as the figurehead prow on a ship: to guide and protect by using its spiritual and magical powers to bestow good fortune and ward off malevolent spirits. This carving of a man moving up a hill is probably a Burmese nat. Nats initually were land and nature spirits of trees, rocks, mountains, rivers, mythical animals, and later humans, sometimes rascals, who often died unnatural deaths but are admired for their life-changing efforts. Nat worship of many is focused on keeping them out of trouble by propitiating and rewarding them with offerings, as they provide favors in proportion to the attention and rewards bestowed on them by their followers. An integral part of the culture, Burmese-carvings of these mythical beings are seen in Buddhist temples, pagodas, home shrines, other spiritual structures throughout the country and in everyday non-religious and functional-and-utilitarian contexts.  Although Burma is now decidedly Buddhist, villages have  long held beliefs in animism and shamanism and also have a shrine (nat sin) for the nat guarding the village. This antique carving shows signs of normal wear for a piece that has seen years of rugged use. Once brightly colored, much of the original pigmentation remains. Genuine Burmese carved wood antique pieces like this are very rare today although copies, many made to look antique, have become common. This well-carved piece is mounted on a wood and metal stand and is part of the VA Burmese-Art Collection.

Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique/Vintage (1910-1980)



Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 17.125 ” W 5” D: 14.5 ”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 43.49cm W: 12.7cm D: 36.83cm


6lbs 15oz


Very Good, expected signs of age and use.

Item Number


Shipping Box Size