Interior of the Norbhu Lingka

Interior of the Norbhu Lingka

1998.131.325 (Film negative)

Image for comparison


Raw Image

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

December 24th 1936?


Lhasa > Norbu Lingka > Throne Room

Accession number


Image Dimensions

85 x 112 mm

Interior of the 13th Dalai Lama's palace, Chensek Potrang, in the Norbhu Lingka. His throne is covered with an embroidered hanging with Buddhist motifs. Many pillars are covered with silk textiles and silk textile banners hanging from the ceiling

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

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

C.20.9 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

In Negative - The reference 'C-20-9' has been scratched into the bottom right hand corner of the negative. This refers to the numbering system that Chapman adopted for images taken whilst on the British Mission to Lhasa in 1936 [MS 16/5/2005]

Technical Information - This image was taken with a quarter plate Zeiss Nixe film or film pack camera as the negative is quarter-plate sized. See Chapman
Lhasa The Holy City, [London: Chatto & Windus, 1938] for a description of the still and cine cameras that Chapman used as Mission photographer [MS 25/2/2005]

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]: 'Long. interior. Throne etc. [Norbu Lingka]' [MS 20/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.20' comprise a group of images taken at a ceremony at the Jokhang and in the Norbu Lingka. The images from the Jokhang are not in the PRM collection, but it is possible to date these to December 24th 1936. It seems likely that Chapman may have made a visit to the Norbu Lingka on the same day to take some further images of the interior there. They seem almost certainly to have been taken in the week before January 1937 [MS 18/03/2006]

Other Information - Description: Chapman wrote "As there was no Dalai Lama during our visit, we were most generously allowed to go there whenever we liked; and when [Sir Basil] Gould was recovering from his illness he was invited to make use of the gardens for convalescence. He took full advantage of this, and, as I usually accompanied him to take photographs, we spent many hours in this delectable place. On such occasions they let us wander where we liked, and it was only when we went into the inner enclosure that a Tibetan came with us" [London: Readers Union, 1940, pp. 182-3]. Chapman also wrote a brief description of this reception room in the book: "The Dalai Lama's reception room is magnificently decorated. The throne, on which he used to sit cross-legged, is about six feet higher than the polished floor. Over the front of it hangs a wonderful piece of embroidery showing the swastika and sacred thunderbolt (dorje) symbols. On each side are pillars swathed in heavy silk hangings. A row of richly coloured thankas framed in brocade hangs along the back wall. The roof beams and the capitals of the pillars are especially beautifully decorated with gold and bright-coloured flower patterns" [ibid., p.184] [MS 20/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Interior of the Norbhu Lingka" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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