Enquiry about object: 8854
Tibetan Silver & Coral Amulet Box (Ga’u)
Tibet 19th century
length: 12cm, diameter: 9.3cm, depth (including coral): 3.2cm, weight: 172g
UK art market
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This fine amulet box or ga’u from Tibet (similar examples were worn in Bhutan) is decorated with a lotus flower pattern and includes a central coral cabochon. It comprises a front, sides and back plate, all in silver. There is a hoop at the top for suspension around the neck, and another at the bottom to allow more chains to be suspended for decoration.
The box has a fine patina and clear age. A red silk cord has been tied through the hoops and this runs across the back plate, keeping the box closed.
Ga’u boxes were worn by men and women in Tibet and in other parts of the Buddhist Himalayas as protective amulet cases. Usually, they were worn suspended from the neck. They would contain a variety of precious and protective items such as parchment inscribed with mantras and cloth perhaps from the robe of an esteemed monk.
The is an especially beautiful ga’u box in unusual form.
A ga’u with similar flower deocration is illustrated in Beringen (2006, p. 212).
Beringen, J. et al, The Art of Silver Jewellery: From the Minorities of China, the Golden Triangle, Mongolia and Tibet – The Rene van der Star Collection, Skira, 2006.
Geoffrey-Schneiter, B., Bijoux des Toits du Monde de la Chine au Caucase, Foundation Baur, Musee des Artes D’Extreme-Orient/5 Continents, 2012.