This Tibetan gau (aka prayer box) is actually a small shrine. When not being worn as an ornament during festivals, it would be kept in the prayer niche of the family home. The back of the box slides open. Frequently, a special prayer i.e. sutra pages would be placed inside. The small glass window at the front displays a Tsa tsa, which is a clay statue of a Buddhist Diety. These statues were made only by the monks and considered to be a holy relic. This antique gau has a front piece of silver with a deep repousse design of 2 dragons chasing the sun pearl. This gau is approx 6 inches by 5 inches and 2 inches thick and is complete with its fabric cover and strap.
It is rare to find this type gau complete with its Tsatsa, fabric cover, and strap, so as I traveled about, whenever I did find a gau intact, I bought it. I now have a collection of several sizes and shapes. Enlargement #5 is a "shrine shape gau, and #6 is a detail of its tsa tsa. Enlargement #7 is a round shape and #8 is its tsa detail.