charm box; shrine

Copper alloy charm box (ga'u) or portable shrine containing a gilded cast metal Buddhist figure, behind glass. The exterior front panel of the box, possibly made from silver, is decorated with the eight auspicious Buddhist symbols in semi-relief.

Large g’au such as this example could have been worn whilst travelling. Travelling was a time when people were particularly vulnerable and often several g’au were carried to provide extra protection. When travelling this g’au would probably have been worn on a sash, slung from shoulder to waist. However it’s flat bottom also allows for it to be placed on a shelf as part of a shrine.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

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