Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

A gau showing the Tree of Life

A large square Tibetan gau dating back to the nineteenth century. Made of silver... the face is covered with fine filigree in the form of a mandala with a representation of the Tree of Life at the centre. A round turquoise cabochon marks the centre of the Tree of Life and eight coral beads are placed diametrically at the corners. Dimensions:13 x 13cms. Weight:365g.

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Comment by Joost Daalder on September 22, 2016 at 14:23

I think both pieces - yours, Thelma, and yours, Michael - are excellent pieces, and I also find myself quite convinced that the tree of life occurs on both. I must confess, Thelma, that I had not thought of this possibility before, but Michael's comparison with his piece really does draw attention to the likelihood that your piece does contain the symbol as well.

Comment by Thelma on September 22, 2016 at 10:48

Thanks very much, Michael, for all this excellent information. I agree with Joost about your gau. It is a beautiful piece. And for me it is more ... it is enlightening! I have a similar gau and I had never before made the connection with the bigger one above. That's a  bonus! I will now be able to rewrite the record for this one with greater confidence. Many thanks.

Comment by Michael Beste on September 21, 2016 at 11:07

Hi Joost,
thank you for your nice comments on the G'au.

This kind of G'au should have a silver back; some other types come (originally only with copper-, brass- or even iron backs. So this a hint to the authenticity of the piece.
Best
Michael

Comment by Joost Daalder on September 21, 2016 at 2:35

That's very good news, Thelma, for the presence of a silver back is certainly not a guaranteed feature!

Comment by Thelma on September 20, 2016 at 14:08

OK, I've got it. Yes, the whole thing is silver, front and back.

Comment by Joost Daalder on September 20, 2016 at 14:01

You have posted a very interesting example, Michael! I do agree with you that it - more obviously than Thelma's - does seem to show us a tree. Actually, looking more closely at Thelma's, I see that the straight piece below the turquoise could very well represent a tree-trunk!

Comment by Thelma on September 20, 2016 at 13:56

Michael, I will go and look for it. I'll be back soon.

Comment by Michael Beste on September 20, 2016 at 13:47

Hi Thelma,

I was still thinking about your G'au and remembered a similar piece - same area, same style - on my website.

Here it is more easy to recognize the "Tree of Life"

What is the backside made from - iron, brass, silver?

Best

Michael

Comment by Thelma on September 20, 2016 at 13:40

Thanks, Michael. That is really very interesting. I've had the gau for about 3 years and have always accepted it as 'with lotus blossom' but it has also worried me a little. The problem has been the shape of the turquoise cabochon at the centre of 'the lotus'. In most of the gaus I've seen, the cabochon marking the centre of the lotus has been tear-shaped but in this particular case it is round. Are you aware of other gaus with 'mandala' faces? 

Comment by Joost Daalder on September 20, 2016 at 13:02

Fine comment, Michael!

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