AGE: – Exact age unknown pre 20th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – brass/bronze
DESCRIPTION: – Nepalese Gao Buddhist Prayer Box – Box has rust but stable
HEIGHT: – 8cm
WEIGHT:– 1.9 Kg
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Antique mixed metal Nepalese Gao Buddhist Prayer Box with a small molded clay tsa tsa figure of the Buddhist deity Manjushree visible through the round glass centre piece on top of the box. The Gao box is enclosed in a stitched silk cloth with a carrying strap. The 12 animals of the Nepalese zodiac surrounding the clay deity decorate the top of the box.
The Gao prayer box originating from Tibet, was also adopted by the Nepalese, Bhutanese and Mongolians. It is a portable ritualistic shrine carried by monks, some are small enough to wear around the neck which hang down and sit close to the heart area, the larger size such as this Gao is worn slung over the shoulder. The Gao is used to carry sacred relics, medicinal herbs, or small iconographic Buddhist objects referred to as Tsa Tsa, made from clay, bone or plaster. They are believed to hold magical powers and can offer protection to the wearer when traveling.
Inside this box is a small clay figure of the Manjushree Buddhist Deity with several silk Buddhist prayer flags with Nepalese script and drawings. These type of flags are often seen in Nepalese and Tibetan monasteries.
Manjushree is the chief Bodhisattva and represents courage and wisdom, he is considered to be one of the most iconic deity’s in Mahayana Buddhist literature and art and is one of the chief disciple of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni.