Dalai Lama's reception room in the Norbu Lingka

Dalai Lama's reception room in the Norbu Lingka

1998.131.326 (Film negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

December 24th 1936?


Lhasa > Norbu Lingka > Audience room

Accession number


Image Dimensions

85 x 112 mm

The Dalai Lama's chair in the Audience Room in the Norbhu Lingka. Cone of water bowls as offerings, refilled with clean water every day. The seat is where the Dalai Lama would sit when receiving visitors

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.20.8 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

In Negative - The reference 'C-20-8' 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]: 'D.L.’s throne and cone of waterpots' [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 - Setting

Other Information - Setting: Chapman wrote about his impressions of the Norbhu Lingka in his book Lhasa The Holy City, [London: Chatto & Windus, 1938; reprint London: Readers Union, 1940]: "The Norbhu Lingka comprises three separate palaces, houses for the Grand Chamberlain, Chief Secretary, and other officials attached to the Dalai Lama's staff, reception and throne rooms, an inner enclosure including an artificial lake with two summer pavilions, the royal stables, and the barracks where live the 500 troops of the Dalai Lama's private bodyguard. His Holiness was accustomed to move from one place to another just as he felt inclined, and we were shown several rooms with padded couches on which he used to sit. Before the low cushions was always a carved table on which were set ready his jade teacup with its golden lotus-patter stand and cover, his prayer-wheel, and often a bowl of fruit. These rooms were unlike other show places in Tibet, were always scrupulously clean and tidy. it was as if they were all prepared for the imminent return of the next incarnation of Chenrezi. The palaces are storehouses of rich presents that the Dalai Lamas have received in the past from different corners of the Buddhist world. Many were locked away and carefully sealed, but others could be seen in glass cases or were in use as ornaments" [1940, p.184] [MS 19/5/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Dalai Lama's reception room in the Norbu Lingka" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.131.326.html>.

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