Tibetan patient after cataract operation

Tibetan patient after cataract operation

1998.131.287 (Print black & white)

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Photographer's handlist

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

September 29th 1936?


Lhasa > Dekyi Lingka

Accession number


Image Dimensions

119 x 176 mm

A Tibetan patient in front of yak hair tent after cataract operation performed by Dr Morgan, the Medical Officer on the British Mission to Lhasa 1936-37. Buildings in the Dekyi Lingka, where the mission stayed in Lhasa, can be seen in the backgroung with groups of people in front of it. An umbrella has been attached to the blanket poles

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Faith Spencer Chapman


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Catologue Number

CV.17 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The reference number 'C-V-17' has been written on the back of the print in pencil. This relates to the numbering system that Chapman adopted for the images taken during the British Mission to Lhasa in 1936-37. The number '7' enclosed in a circle has also been written in pencil in the bottom left hand corner [MS 2/4/2005]

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]: 'Beggar in his tent after cataract operation'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 3: ‘34/3 - A beggar eye patient camped at the hospital’ [MS 18/03/2006]

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - This image was used to illustrate the Mission Diary for October 7th 1936 in a section relating to the medical activities of the Medical Officer Dr Morgan during the Mission.

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'CV' comprise a group of negatives containing images of chang girls, dancing girls and band, ‘King’ of Lhadu’s monk, medical work at mission hospital, Gould and Lonchen Shatra, wall painting in Duke’s [Kung] house, Potala from Chakpori, telephoto views of Potala and Kundeling, Gyaltsen, and staff of the mission. They all seem to have been taken between September 28th - 30th 1936 [MS 18/03/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: In his book Lhasa the Holy City [London: Chatto & Windus 1938; reprint, London: Readers Union Ltd., 1940] Chapman provides a description that seems to fit this scene: "There was little accommodation at the hospital, and patients who needed continuous treatment or who had come from a distance had to bring their own tents; it was no uncommon sight to see a dozen cloth or yak hair tents pitched beneath the trees around the hospital. ... Most amusing was what we called "the opthalmic ward", which consisted of a single piece of yak-hair sacking stretched between two trees, and affording shelter for a grimy old beggar woman who was being prepared for a cataract operation. This complaint is very prevalent in Tibet, and Morgan must have operated successfully on at least thirty patients whose sight had practically gone. Monks and nuns were conspicuous amongst these cataract cases and would see these aged people, supported on the arm of a friend, hobbling around with their eyes swathed in bandages - for the eyes must not be used after the operation until the skin of the iris is healed" [1940, p.242] [MS 2/4/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Tibetan patient after cataract operation" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.131.287.html>.

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