8471

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    Tibetan Woman’s Silver Amulet Case (Ga’u)

    Tibet
    early 20th century

    length: 7.6cm, width: 7.2cm, depth: approximately 2.9cm, weight: 47g

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    Provenance

    UK art market

    This silver amulet case was made for a woman. It comprises an elongated oval mid-section, a tubular upper section in four parts and a dorje-shaped lower section, beneath which there is a single hoop to allow additional chains and ornaments to be attached.

    It is unusual in that part of the top and bottom open with the mid-section.

    The mid-section is set with a tear-shaped turquoise stone in a box setting.

    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 shape of this example shows that it was most particularly intended to hold a roll of paper that would have been inscribed with mantras and perhaps magical symbols.

    An example of identical form is illustrated in Seiwert, (2009, p. 170). Another is illustrated in Pal (1997, p. 183).

    References

    Pal, P., Tibet: Tradition and Change, The Albuquerque Museum, 1997.

    Seiwert, W.D., Jewellery from the Orient: Treasures from the Bir Collection, Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 2009.

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