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Antique Tibetan Silver Gau (Ga'u) Amulet Box Pendant


An antique traditional Tibetan Gau prayer box, made in the late 19th century. This type of Gau (also spelled Ga'u, Ghau or Gao) is usually worn around the neck by Tibetan women as a protective amulet and often contains within written prayers on parchment and pictures of deity as well as other items of personal devotion. Over centuries it has been considered a very precious and sacred item, therefore always worn close to the heart.

The front part of this oval prayer box is made of high-grade silver with beautiful decorative repoussé motifs and chasing. The back is made from hammered copper sheeting. Adorning the Gau at the centre is a beautiful turquoise cabochon. At the base of the container is a stylised dorje (thunderbolt) symbolising spiritual energy. The two halves of the Gau fit together and are tied with the accompanying leather cord.

This really is a stunning item, highly collectible and in very good condition for its age.


Late 19th century


High-grade silver, copper & turquoise


8.85 cm (h) x 6.9 cm (w) x 4.5 cm (d)


73.4 g




cf. Stokmans, M.E. (2008) Ethnic jewellery from Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands: The René Van der Star Collection ; published on the occasion of the exhibition of the ethnic jewellery collection of René van der Star in the Rotterdam Kunsthal, the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Pepin. P174