Central Asia, Tibet, ca. late 19th to early 20th century CE. A pretty example of a ghau (gau), a bronze prayer box. The shape of the box mirrors that of traditional central Asian roofs inspired by the domes and arches of Persian architecture. The sides and back of the box are simple sheets of metal, with two small, horizontal handles on each side. The lid of the box has a gilded border around a glass cover. The border is studded with inlaid "jewels" - four coral, three turquoise, and the rest glass or lost. Behind the glass cover is a gilded bronze statue of a seated Buddha, with a red cloth surrounding it. Size: 1.8" W x 1.75" H (4.6 cm x 4.4 cm)
Buddhists all over the world use a prayer box known as a ghau, designed to conceal a hidden space in which the owner may place sacred mantras, pictures of the Buddha or other deities, sacred relics, or herbs. Many are worn on a cord around the neck and are smaller than this early example.
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection
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