About this object

Small rectangular ga'u or portable shrine box. The front panel is made of silver and decorated with scrolling foliage. A teardrop shaped turquoise is set above an archway in the centre of the panel, which reveals a tsa- tsa or moulded clay tablet. The panel is mounted on to copper each side has a double loop handle used for the strap. This piece has a white silk floss string attached. The tablet inside the ga'u is painted, the protective Buddhist figure is a Dharmapala, possibly Vajrabhairava.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Religion; Container
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Yarn Silk; Terracotta Clay; Silver; Copper; Pigment; Turquoise
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    From the Collection of Sergeant J Heaney
  • Collector
    J Heaney
  • Place collected
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Lhasa
  • Date collected
    1904-08 - 1904-09
  • Measurements
    52 mm x 55 mm x 15 mm; 2 1/16 in x 2 3/16 in x 9/16 in (ga'u only)
  • Note
    Curator's note: Collected during the Younghusband expedition 1903-04. The museum's annual report reads, 'copper and silver charm boxes (16.6.05. 26-27), from Lhasa. When J Heaney sold this and other items to Liverpool Museum in 1905, he also noted individual objects site of 'collection'. The ga'u is noted as from Lhasa. Looting had been outlawed at this stage but the ga'u could have been bought at a bazaar or from an individual, gifted, or taken from a monastery or temple. In shoirt it is difficult to know. Written by Emma Martin
  • Related people
    J Heaney ( Collector)

Explore related


  • Mission to Lhasa 1903-1904

    Start date: 1903
    End date: 1903
    Description: The British Mission to Tibet during 1903 and 1904 was an invasion of southern Tibet by British Indian forces on the pretence of negotiating trade relations between Tibet and British India. However, this was instigated primarily in the hope of preventing the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a base in one of the buffer states surrounding British India. The expedition was led by Colonel (later Sir) Francis Younghusband. It had a damaging effect on the British reputation, many Tibetans were killed and monasteries and houses were looted and/or destroyed along the way. The 13th Dalai Lama feld Lhasa before the arrival of the expedition and Younghusband negotiated, a soon to be repelled, convention with the Tibetan government or Kashag in Lhasa that was signed in the Potala on 7 Septmber 1904.

Object view = Humanities
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