This Ghau is an excellent representation of a repousse silver and copper portable shrine box in mihrab form with a central deity figure set behind glass in the prayer niche is encased in its original brocade cover. Tibet, it appears to be of early 19th century. The front of the ornamental box is richly decorated with the Tibetan 8 Auspicious Symbols of the Buddhist faith and the monster mask of Kirtimukha in high relief repousse silver work. The plain copper backing is removable to accommodate the items that the owner chose to place inside, which in this case is a Buddhist amulet and a stuffed silk bag with religious symbols. There are two copper loops on each side which hold the original fabric strap. The purple and gold quilted silk brocade cover with dark green lining was made specifically for this shrine. It is hand stitched and closes with a round brass bead. The Ghau is a mainstay of Tibetan culture, and they are worn by Buddhist peoples living in other central Asian countries as well. Traditionally, these portable shrines were made to contain a small image of the owner’s personal deity when traveling. They can also contain written prayers, miniature paintings, relics or other special amulets that are designed to protect the individual from evil spirits. In a Tibetan home a Ghau is kept on an altar, but it is fastened to a belt and worn when the owner travels. It is quite unusual to find these shrines encased in their original brocade covers, and this is a fine and complete early example of a Tibetan devotional object. Measures 9.5 x 7.5 inches.