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Pensajuba (ပဉ္စရူပ)

Burmese. ‘Five appearances’ or ‘five looks’. Name of a composite animal from Burmese mythology (fig.), which is made up of elements or appearances (juba/jupa) of five (pensa/pjinsa) different animals, i.e. the body and tail of a fish, the head of a lion, the horns and hooves of a deer, the trunk of an elephant, and the wings of a bird. This imaginary animal is described either with component parts of an elephant, a bullock, a horse, a carp, and a fabulous horned animal known as toh (fig.), or alternatively a lion, an elephant, a buffalo, a carp and a Brahminy Duck, that is the Ruddy Shelduck (fig.) or alternatively the Hintha (fig.). Its features are reminiscent of −and perhaps influenced by− certain creatures found in Chinese and Thai mythology, including Bi Xie (fig.), Kilen (fig.), and Warih Kunchon or Chang Nahm (fig.), as well as Kraison Naga. Pensajuba seems to be related to the art of music, as it is often found, usually with an elongated body, as a gong-stand or as a decorative item with Burmese musical ensembles (fig.), and also exists as a Burmese harp (fig.). Also transcribed Pjinsajupa or Pyinsayupa, though pronunciation is rather Pyinsa Yupa or sometimes even Pyensa Ruba, with the y pronounced as an r, as is also the case in the names Yangon and Rangoon, and for the giants called yaksha or raksha (as in Rakshasa), from which the name of the ethnic Rakhine is believed to derive, though other sources suggest the name refers to those who kept their own race, i.e. their roots, which in turn is reminiscent of the Thai word for root, i.e. raak (ราก). Compare with the terms panjawakkih and benjarong, as well as with a mythical sea creature known as a magan.