Tibetan man with ear ornament

Tibetan man with ear ornament

1998.131.193 (Print black & white)

Image for comparison


Raw Image




With tracing paper


Photographer's handlist

[view record]

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

August 21st 1936


Tsangpo Valley Region > Singma Kangchung

Accession number


Image Dimensions

80 x 120 mm

Portrait of a Tibetan man described as both a 'mule driver' and a 'headman' by Chapman, wearing a distinctive ear ornament, which is worn on a loop around the ear because of its weight. The man is in focus in the centre of the image with the background out of focus. Another man can be seen on the right hand side and another person on the extreme left

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Faith Spencer Chapman

Copy difference

Crop marks


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Catologue Number

CP.36 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number



'Lhasa the Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto and Windus, 1940 [view list of illustrations]

Other Information

Notes on print/mount - 'Village headman' has been written on the back of the print in pencil. The back of the print is covered with crop and proof marks and piece of paper for transferring these annotations to the front of the print has also been attached, but not annotated. Extensive cropping of the print image is suggested, which would centre the headman as the main referent and cut the two out of focus images in the background from the frame. The number '34 b' has also been written in the top left hand corner of the back of the print. The reference number 'C.P.36' has been written in pencil across the back of the print. This relates to the numbering system for images that Chapman adopted whilst on the Mission to Lhasa in 1936-37. [MS 17/1/2005]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Caption in Chapman's hand-written list of negatives made whilst on the Mission to Lhasa, 1936-7 [See PRM Manuscripts Collection]: 'Mule driver'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 4: ‘13/3 - Tibetan local headman’ [MS 12/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'CP.' seem all to have been taken on or around the 21st August 1936 and comprise a group of negatives containing images of the route to Lhasa including rock paintings, a ‘ghost scarer’, environs of Nyapsu La, Singma, boats on the Tsangpo, birds and flowers. The list is referred to as ‘P’ in Chapman’s papers, but all the images were prefixed ‘CP’ in the draft album and related prints in the Pitt Rivers Museum collection are also annotated as ‘CP’ [MS 12/03/2006]

Other Information - The ear ornament is worn around the ear on a string because it is too heavy to wear suspended from a hole in the ear. The earring or Along is made of gold with a large piece of turquoise in the centre [TS 20/1/2005]

Other Information - Dress: Chapman comments on the earrings worn by non-aristocratic Tibetan men in
Lhasa The Holy City [London: Chatto & Windus, 1938; ; reprint, London: Readers Union Ltd., 1940]. Writing of the attire of the muleteers who accompanied the Mission to Lhasa, Chapman stated: "The better dressed ones wore a large single ear-ring in the left ear and a plain piece of turquoise in the other. This ear-ring took the form of a fluted gold ring about two inches in diameter, with a turquoise mounted in the front. As this ring is very heavy, it is supported by a loop of red cotton over the top of the ear" [1940, p.13] [MS 12/3/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Tibetan man with ear ornament" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.131.193.html>.

For more information about photographic usage or to order prints, please visit the The Pitt Rivers Museum.

© The Pitt Rivers Museum