Amulet "Ghau"


Tibet, 20th century, private collection from Netherlands.

Tibet, the historic region and autonomous region of China (often called "the roof of the world") is vast country (covering an area in excess of 2,5 million square kilometers), over two thirds the size of India or more than two and half times the size of Austria, Denmark, France and Germany put together. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,380 meters. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples. Surrounded by high snow-capped mountain ranges and dotted with numerous lakes, Tibet is also the source of many great rivers, the Bharmaputra, Indus, Yangtze, Mekong, Yellow, Salween to name a few. Tibet's history begins in 127BC, and it was subsequently ruled by different dynasties. At times, Tibet extended its influence over neighboring countries and peoples and, in other periods, came itself under the influence of powerful foreign rulers, including the Mongol Khans, the Gorkhas of Nepal, the Manchu emperors and the British rulers of India. Until 1949, Tibet was an independent nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse of the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism. Religion was unifying theme among the Tibetans, as was theur own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their enviroment. The Tibet was invaded by Communists China in 1950. On 7 october 1950 thousands of Chinese troops marched into Lhasa. The forcible occupation of Tibet was marked by systematic destruction of monasteries, the supression of religion, denial of political freedom, widespread arrest and imprisonment and massacre of innocent men, women and children. Since that time, over 1,2 million out of 6 Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monastaries have been destroyed, and thousands of Tibetans have been imprisoned.

A Ghau (called also Gau or Gao) is a Tibetan Buddhist amulet container or prayer box. They are mostly made of silver or silvered with low quality silver. However, the Tibetan artisans also use copper, brass and other materials. Ghau often complex designs, auspicious symbols and mantras inscribed on their outer surface. In Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and Mongolia, the Ghau box usually contains a written prayer or a sacred yantra diagram such as Kalachakra. The prayers and yantras are usually hand inscribed or block-printed by a priest and are always blessed before use. Tibetan Ghau is used as an ornament to help the wearer to ward off negative energy and attract blessings.

Beautiful Ghau amulet is made from copper/brass alloy with silvered metal reposse front. Embossed decoration of Kirtimukha (Face of Glory) with eight auspicious symbols (Conch, Endless knot, Pair of Golden Fish, Lotus, Parasol, Treasure vase, Dharmachakra, Dhvaja). Inside a small terracotta Tsa Tsa is held in place with a mantra covered prayer flags. Amulet fits within an attractive fabric carrying case. Fabric ribbon missing. Good condition. Age-related wear and signs of use. Dirt and dust. Tears and abrasion. Size approx. 9,5cm x 7,5cm x 4,0cm.