Painting in Norbu Lingka stables

Painting in Norbu Lingka stables

1998.131.338 (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

October 2nd 1936?


Lhasa > Norbu Lingka > Stables

Accession number


Image Dimensions

130 x 178

Fresco of Mongolian leading a tiger in the stables of the Norbu Lingka. This represents the three great Mahayana Bodhisattvas: Avalokitesvara (mongol), Manjusri (tiger), and Vajrapani (the Chain connecting them). It is a popular didactic Buddhist painting and is often found at the entrance to houses, signifying welcome and protection.

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

C.6.11 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The back of the print is covered with multiple crop marks and reproduction instructions. The caption 'Fresco, Mongolian leading tiger in the Norbhu Lingka stables' has been written across the back in pencil, as has the reference number 'C/6/11'. A piece of tracing paper has been stuck across the back and folded over the front. This is to transfer reproduction and cropping instructions from the back onto the front of the image. The same caption has been reproduced on this paper, although written in a different hand, as well as some other annotations from a picture editor [MS 21/03/2006]

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]: 'Painting on Norbu Lingka stable gates'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 4: ‘22/3 - Mongolian with tiger. A painting signifying welcome, often found in the entrance porch of houses’ [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.6.' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Trimon and 4th/5th rank officials, Amir Khan and staff, Ringang, lunch party, Yellow Hat Monks, Potala views, Norbhu Lingka stables. They all seem to have been taken between October 1st - 3rd 1936 [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Description: "Perhaps the most surprising thing in all the Norbhu Lingka is the Dalai Lama's stables. The stalls are arranged along three sides of a cobbled courtyard and around another block in the centre. On each side of the entrance gateways are two paintings, the Mongolian leading a tiger, and, in a style that recalls an Italian primitive, a man followed by an amiable-looking elephant laden with symbolic jewels. These paintings one has seen elsewhere, but over every stall is the most enchanting fresco painted in bright colours on the plaster of the wall. Many of these are equestrian subjects ... One of the most interesting shows the anatomy of the horse. ... Other paintings illustrate Chinese proverbs and folk-tales: four figures are trying to move something that looks like an enormous peach; a boatload of people crossing a lake while an old man sits wrapped in thought, and a wisp of cloud flowing from his brain is developed to form a vision of the Buddha. // All these frescoes, though slightly splashed and discoloured, are marvellously executed and must be the work of first-class artists ... these equestrian studies exhibit a rate economy of line and colour and are quite unlike other work I saw in Lhasa" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, p. 188] [MS 21/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Painting in Norbu Lingka stables" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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