The Vivian Gabriel Oriental Collection
The collection was formed at the beginning of the 20th century and consists of around a hundred objects from Tibet and a lesser number from Nepal, India and China.
On display there are a number of ritual objects and some musical instruments used in particular moments of the religious life of the Tibetan people or of similar groups belonging to Indo-Nepalese culture. They were used in religious practices as symbols of both material and spiritual power and are therefore seen as being endowed with an enormous evocative power.
The same kind of symbolic value is attached to the instruments of war, in particular to the swords and breastplates which can easily be presumed to be of Sino-Tibetan origin.
Particularly interesting because of the excellence of their workmanship and their highly symbolic decoration are the large stupa, the series of elegant teapots and the cover for the Buddhist sacred text.
The collection was donated to the Comune di Gubbio between the end of the first and the middle of the second decade of the 20th century by an Englishman, Colonel Vivian Gabriel, a descendant of the noble Gabrielli family from Gubbio. He was born in 1875 and held many important military and governmental offices in India between 1898 and 1909 at which time he collected these artworks, most of which are from Tibet. This gives added significance and value to the collection since very few examples of Tibetan art and culture have survived the political upheavals which have affected that nation.