Work in Progress

The 37 Nats

Nats play diverse roles in Burmese society. Originally inhabitants of the six inferior Hindu heavens and known as dewas, they were merged into Burmese Theravada Buddhism in the 11th century. Indigenous Burmese Nats were spirits of nature, the house, the air, the water, and the forest. They are often malevolent beings who must be propriated with regular offerings. Folk custom lists 37 distinct varieties of Nats. As part of the incorporation of Nats into Buddhism King Anivuddha built the Shwezigon (Nirbanna-mula-bajkra-parya) Pagoda in Pagan during the 11th century, making it the official abode of the 37 Nats and turning the Shwezigon into the ancestral stele of all Burmese royalty.

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In process detail from The Glass Palace, a drawing by Mary Griep

The Glass Palace Chronicle (Thatbinyinyu)

The possibilities for multiple perspectives opened up by the drawing of Agios Dimitrios and the utilization of transparency in the Ocean Floor and Palimpsest led me to revisit my drawing of Thabinyinyu in Burma. In this new exploration of the Burmese temple (3rd drawing in the Anastylosis Project, completed in 2003), I am using graphite and gold leaf to draw the temple on one side of each sheet, while drawing ghostly representations of stupas and the Pagan landscapes on the reverse side.

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Mary Griep - Installation at Lawrence University

Installation at Lawrence University

Installation views of Anastylosis drawings in Wriston Gallery, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, Spring 2019.

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