The Journey

Man's Portable Amulet Shrine (Ga'u) and Case

  • 58
  • Eastern Tibet, Kham region, Derge, Himalayas
  • 18th–19th century
  • Metalwork, silver, parcel-gilt copper, copper, cloth, and leather
  • H. 8 3/8 x W. 6 1/4 x D. 3 1/8 in. (21.3 x 15.9 x 7.9 cm)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Indian Art Special Purpose Fund, M.80.48.1–.3

A Tibetan pilgrim or other traveler would fasten larger amulet containers such as this one and the other example in this case to his crossbelt. The characteristic trefoil niche at the center would enclose the owner's personal deity, wrapped in silk. The gilded decoration on this example includes nine auspicious symbols and flying kinnaras surrounding the window border. A bowl of offerings symbolizing the five senses appears at the bottom center. The intricate window border includes a deity, guardian, dragons, a mythical khyung bird, and other fauna. The Buddhist Wheel of the Law is flanked by two antelope at the bottom of the window border, which represent the Buddha's first teaching at the Deer Park at Sarnath.

PHOTO CREDIT: © 2009 Museum Associates/ Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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