Central Asia, Tibet, ca. first half of the 20th century CE. A mold-formed brass gau prayer box used as a personal shrine for traveling practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. The gau has a flat base, a steepled top, and a central window that once displayed a petite figurine of Buddha. The front panel is heavily decorated with Buddhist imagery, clouds, and geometric motifs, and two thin strap loops protrude from either side. The gau is placed within a brocade cloth carrying case with a lengthy strap that enables it to be easily transported. Gau like this example were typically worn as an ornament during festivals and kept in a prayer niche in a family home when not in use. Size: 6.125" W x 7.9" H (15.6 cm x 20.1 cm).
Provenance: private Honolulu, Hawaii, USA collection
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Original contents of gau missing. Small tears to cloth bag and loss to one cloth loop on one side, with staining to bag, and minor indentations to gau. Nice patina to gau.