Nat on a tiger, Shwedagon, Yangon, Myanmar

A nat (spirit) rides on a tiger in Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar.

Burmese nats – broadly translatable as “spirits” – are intertwined with the country’s orthodox Buddhism. The nats’ origins are varied – some might be based on historic figures who died in unusual circumstances, while others are tutelary spirits or mythical characters. Most Burmese people worship nats alongside Buddha and boddhisattvas, asking for the spirits’ help with worldly concerns from conceiving children to dealing with business troubles.

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