The Chinthe is a leogryph (lion-like creature, half lion and half dog or dragon)
that is often seen at the entrances of pagodas and temples in Burma and other Southeast
Asian countries. The chinthe is featured prominently on the kyat, the currency of
Burma. Chinthes almost always in pairs, and serve to protect the pagoda. They typically
appear as animals, but are sometimes found with human faces.
In days before the introduction of money, brass weights were commonly used to measure
standard quantities of staple items such as food ingredients. These brass weights
were usually cast in the shape of mythical beasts, one of which was the Chinthe.
The story of the Chinthe goes something like this: A princess had a son through her
marriage to a lion, but later abandoned the lion who then became enraged and set
out on a road of terror throughout the lands. The son then went out to slay this
terrorizing lion. The son came back home to his mother stating he slew the lion,
and then found out that he killed his own father. The son later constructed a statue
of the lion as a guardian of a temple to atone for his sin.
The Chinthe is revered and loved by the Burmese people, and it is used symbolically
on the royal thrones of Burma. As well as being a precursor of money itself, a Chinthe
will protect your wealth and bring you good luck to increase it.