Tibetan Gau, Tibetan Gau Box Necklace
This Eastern Tibet, most probably from the Labrang area in the Gansu province of China, is a low grade silver oblong ga’u amulet box ornamented with filigree work, silver beading and brass applied chased units worn suspended from the top gadrooned tube.
The central field is covered in separately embossed or stamped filigree surrounding a stylized turquoise bezel "Open Lotus Flower". The face of the box is further decorated with two red coral and turquoise stones. (Most likely none of these stones were the original stones in the Gau Box. The centre turquoise replacement stone has stringing holes in the ends and has signs of wear around these holes).
The lower decoration is a stylised dorje ornament which hangs at the bottom when worn and a loop at the bottom from which hangs a burgundy tassel.
The outer edge is decorated with individually stamped and applied petals of an open lotus and silver beaded wire.
It is very hard to find oblong ga’u amulet boxes today that have the tube and stylised dorje ornament. Most are hinged on each side for wearing. The ga’u was used as a container for handwritten or printed charms and relics, and herbs.
The backing plate is missing.
The front section, side sheet, dorje and tube of the Gau Box has been tested and are made from a low grade silver, 50% approx.
The Gau Box is strung with an array of beads measuring 61 cm (24") long. These beads are part of a complete Tibetan style costume and is typical of many in its combination of real and imitation beads.
All beads show signs of wear.
All the Phenolic Resin Amber Beads on this necklace may look like natural Phenolic Resin Beads, but they are actually made of Phenol formaldehyde resin, one of the earliest commercial synthetic resins. This form of resin is tree plant based and was utilized by German bead makers to imitate Amber Beads.)
2 x Large Honey Old Phenolic Resin Rondelle Amber Trade Beads. These beads have a milky, swirl mix of opaque and translucent Old Phenolic Resin Beads.
2 x Large Rust Old Phenolic Resin Beads Barrel Amber Trade Beads.
4 x Small Egg Yoke Yellow Old Phenolic Resin Beads Amber Trade Beads,
4 x Brilliant cranberry colour coral glass beads known as ‘Sherpa coral’, Sherpa Coral Rondelle Beads, produced in Nepal.
2 x Tibetan dZi Glass Beads - 2.8 cm.
2 x High Grade Silver Melon Beads
14 x Mixed Metal Alloy Silver Spacer Beads.
9 x Small turquoise chip spacer stones.
Gau Width: 12 cm (4 1/2" )
Height: 13 cm (5 1/2")
Bale: 12 mm (3/8")
Beaded Necklace Length: 61 cm (24”)
Weight: 338 Grams (12 oz.)
Material: Gau Tested low grade silver 50 - 80% - with green silver tarnishing on front.