Amulet Box (Tibetan: ga'u): portable shrines generally made from metal in a repousse style of construction. They often, but not always, have a small window on the front with a religious image inside. Typically the front is very ornate and decorated with the Eight Auspicious Symbols and other auspicious decorations. Amulet boxes are commonly used to store all manner of sacred materials such as small texts, blessing cords, consecrated medicine, relics, and the like.
This amulet box contains a clay sculpture of Padmasambhava. It is protected in a cloth covering sewn specifically to side and would have had a cloth cord attached for wearing around the neck, but inside the outer clothing. Objects such as this were generally carried when traveling a reasonable distance away such as on pilgrimage, or for business trips.
Jeff Watt, 10-2010