The Journey

Amulet Box (Ga'u) Hair Ornament (Skra 'Khor)

  • 56
  • Lhasa, Tibet
  • Mid-20th century
  • Turquoise set in mercury-gilded silver
  • H. 1 x W. 2 x D. 2 1/2 in. (2.5 x 5.1 x 6.4 cm)
  • Newark Museum, Purchase 1990, C. Suydam Cutting Bequest Fund, 90.292a, b
  • Lhasa
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Amulet containers are found throughout the Himalayas, Tibetan plateau, and Mongolia. They range in size from less than a square inch to as large as a square foot. Their owners fill them with protective materials, such as printed or handwritten prayers, mantras, bijas (seed syllables), images of spirits and/or deities, pills made of ingredients selected by a lama, incense, herbs, grains, soil, pebbles, crystals, and/or blessed scraps of cloth. Many g'au open easily so that they can be enriched with new ritual substances, such as those acquired on pilgrimage. This type of amulet box hair ornament would have been worn by Tibetan male officials of the fourth rank.

PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Goodbody, Newark Museum

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