Lion / Toe Opium Weights
The second-most frequent type of animal weights is the “Burmese conception of a lion”, as Wilson writes in his ‘Documents of War’.
The Toe (Burmese lion) represents a legendary creature from Burmese mythology. He is said to live in the Himalayan forests. For a time, Toe was the motif of Burmese heraldery, as well.
Toe has a lion’s face, a bull’s horn’s and a horse’s hooves and tail.
There are different types of Toe in Burma, according to which animal features of those mentioned above prevail.
Further more a ‘Toe Nwa’ is said to exist which shows a close relationship to a cow. Unfortunately we have not yet been able to identify an example of this type.
These Toes with the different features are probably identical to weights mentioned in Nandabahu’s palmleaf manuscript.
The lion is a popular motif of Buddhist art. It symbolises royal power and was the animal of Buddha Shakyamuni and the emblem of the House of Shakya.
Very often lion’s sculptures are the guards of temples and pagodas.