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A7. Gau, 13cms, copper, Tibet 19th century.

A gau is an amulet box and in Tibet they were made in a wide range of sizes, styles and materials. Most were made of metal. They were used to contain small religious images, relics and prayers. Some were worn as a necklace pendant while larger examples were hung from belts.

This relatively simple gau is made of copper with the front decorated by chasing and stippling. The main motif is the ten syllable mantra while above is the victory banner one of the eight auspicious Buddhist symbols. In parts the corners have worn through as a result of its prolonged use.
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