Tibetan Gau Shrine, Ghau Box, High Grade Silver Front, Gilded Copper Back, 130.5 Grams
This is a fine example of a antique Tibetan portable Gau or Ghau shrine and is in the ogee arched box shape.
It is quite uncommon to find examples that are decorated with such fine silverwork.
It comprises a - high grade silver - front overlay decorated in repousse and chased floral and leaf scrollwork that is typical of Eastern Tibet, and within the scrollwork are the dancing figures. At the center top is the Wish-fulfilling jewel Chintamani, and the center bottom is the monster mask of Kirtimukha and in each corner is an elephant and horse.
The window at the front is of arched form and would have permitted a small painted, clay figure of a deity, usually the Buddha, to be seen and also to contain written prayers, miniature paintings, relics or other special amulets that are designed to protect the individual from evil spirits when travelling.
The three mounting clips on the inside to hold the figure in place - are no longer there. The sides and backing plate are of copper. The backing plate has been gilded. Two pairs of applied copper lugs are to each side to hold a belt or strap that is fastened to a belt and worn when the owner travels.
When there was no travel being undertaken the Gau Shrine would be stored on the home altar. The supporting clips to hold the front in place are no longer there. This Gau has been extensively worn and shows signs of wear all over – but still in good condition.
Height: 10cm (4")
Width: 7cm (2 3/4")
Depth: 3.5cm (1 3/8")
Front: High Grade Silver