Two Tibetan Silver and Turquoise Floral Pattern Encrusted Filigree Amuletic Buddhist Prayer Boxes


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Object Description

Two Tibetan Silver and Turquoise Floral Pattern Encrusted Filigree Amuletic Buddhist Prayer Boxes Worn for Protection Against Evil Influences Attached with chains or braids through the four barrel shaped loops
Both with removable tin bases for the insertion of relics and prayers
One with gilded filigree silver top and attached Beasley label ‘Tibet Ex Righi Coll. MH/-’
18th Century

Sizes: A: 8.5cm x 8.5cm (max) 2cm deep – 3¾ x 3¾ (max) ¾ ins deep
B: 9cm x 9cm (max) 2cm deep –  3½ ins x 3½ ins (max) ¾ ins deep

Object History

Ex Righi collection
Ex Harry Beasley collection (1881 – 1939)
Cranmore Ethnographical Museum, Chislehurst, Kent
Thence by descent
Ex Private English collection sold at Auction 2018

Object Literature

Tibetan Buddhism is noted for the great belief in the prevalence of magic deriving from the old traditional legends regarding malignant spirits who are responsible for illness and other misfortunes. Tibet imported the tantric Buddhism of eastern India which also enshrined practices of a magical nature. The Tibetans believe that turquoise has auspicious and talismanic properties associated with health and luck. Often of local origin, the semi-precious stone is perceived as a link between heaven and earth, and its use together with the scarcely less popular coral was noted by Marco Polo in the 13th century.
Amuletic charm boxes such as these were worn for protection especially when travelling and were attached to the body or clothing through the barrel shaped loops. They contained wood block printed prayers on paper, pebbles painted with auspicious symbols and pieces of cloth or silk. It is said that lay officials used smaller examples to hold a knot of hair near the top of the head.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)20 7689 7500
+44 (0)7768 236921/+44 (0)7836 684133

Dealer Location

Suite 744
2 Old Brompton Road