Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting


Naga Gau

These portable shrines are called »Gau«. They are found only in Tibet and neighbouring Buddhist areas. Nothing like them is known in any other Buddhist country. It is not known how old the practice is in Tibet. Most known examples are generally dated to the last two or three centuries, although some may be earlier.

The copper and brass gaus were used to protect their owners from evil in everyday life, especially when travelling.

They were filled with rolled prayers and blessed or sacred objects [seeds, small statues, tsa tsas or tsaglis = small thangkas]. They were worn on a belt or sash over the shoulder or around the waist.

There are also larger thangkas that are not worn on the body. They are found on house altars.

This gau has an old fabric all around. It shows two snakes [Nagas] left and right. Two snakes are filleted on the right and left. Nagas . In Buddhism, they often are protectors of the Buddha and of the Buddhist doctrine [»dharma«]. The word naga means »cobra« in Sanskrit.

At the top centre are six lucky ornaments and below the small window are two gazelles holding the wheel of Buddhist teachings. This image can be found in almost every Tibetan Buddhist monastery above the entrance portal.

A makara is depicted at the bottom edge in the center. The makara is the head of the water element and rules the nagas or snake demons as inhabitants of the lakes and rivers.


PropertyValue
Measurements: 8.7 x 7.5 x 2.4" | 22 x 19 x 6 cm
Price: 76 $ | 70 €
Measuerements incl. fabric frame: 26 x 44" | 65 x 110 cm
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany
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