The material of this gau is white metal [front cover] and dark copper [back cover]. It is protected by both a leather and textile cover. Four of the six sides have a textile cover for it. Only a small part of the front is covered.
The copper back has a hinged cover made of leather. One of the two loops of the leather cover has unfortunately been lost, as have the two buttons that go with it.
This unusual square gau is still originally filled [a rarity in old gaus still offered today]. Through its window, one can see an expressive Guru Dragpo Tsa Tsa inside. Guru Dragpo, originating in the 'Revealed Treasure' Tradition of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, is a wrathful meditational form of Padmasambhava.
The majority of the Tsa Tsa is concealed within the gau. Guru Dragpo is surrounded by a flame aureole. He wears the fivefold skull crown and stands lunging to the right in his familiar two-armed form with the threateningly raised vajra in his right hand and the ritual dagger with scorpion grip in his left.
Gaus from the 20th century usually have a small glass pane to protect the Tsa Tsa. In Tibet, imported thin glass discs were rare until the mid-19th century. This gau has none, so the window of the gau is open. In the lukewarm years, the Tsa Tsa has been somewhat superficially damaged while being worn.
The front is extremely delicate work. The visible part shows on floral patterns seven of the eight 'Tibetan Lucky Symbols': White Conch Shell, Treasure Vase, Precious Umbrella, Victory Banner, Two Golden Fish, Lotus Flower and the Endless Knot. The eighth symbol 'Wheel of Dharma' is hidden under the textile cover at the bottom.
Tibetan tsa tsa traditionally are filled with precious substances and/or relics as part of the consecration process. Typically this can include a combination of semi-precious stones, excerpts from religious texts, and blessed substances such as barley kernels, protection cords, or juniper incense.. Out of respect for this object, which is sacred to Tibetans, the gau has not been opened.
Age: 19th century
|Measurements:||4.3 x 4.3 x 1.2 " | 11 x 11 x 3 cm|
|Material: :||Dark Copper, White Metal|
|Download:||High resolution [1.8 MB, 2792 x 2836 px.]|