Zimchongpa at Jokhang

Zimchongpa at Jokhang

1998.131.571 (Film negative)

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Raw Image


Photographer's handlist

[view record]

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

December 24th 1936


Lhasa > Jokhang

Accession number


Image Dimensions

85 x 58

Zimchongpa or foot soldiers in ancient armour on the roof of the Jokhang Temple at dawn. They wear chain mail, steel helmets with large plumes. Some carry wickerwork shields, firearms or trumpets

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Mrs Faith Spencer Chapman


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Catologue Number

C.20.2 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

In Negative - '2' has been scratched into the bottom left corner of the negative. The right hand side of the image, amounting to more than half of the negative, has been cropped. [MS 02/04/2006]

Technical Information - The right hand side of the image, amounting to more than half of the negative, has been cropped. This may be explained by the fact that it was out of focus [see 'Manual Catalogues' notes below]. From December 1936 onwards Chapman complained that there was a problem with his Zeiss Super Ikonta camera, which he used to take quarter plate images such as this [See ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938]. The Super Ikonta was notorious for having a problematic shutter. However, as this ceremony took place at dawn, it might be simply the case that light conditions affected the quality of the images taken [MS 02/04/2006]

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]: Ditto Ditto [View of armoured soldiers on Cathedral roof [Jokhang] ] left side only in focus. Pagoda on rt. [MS 02/04/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.20' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Jokhang, Norbu Lingka, including interiors. The group of negatives are headed ‘Function at Cathedral’ by Chapman in his handlist of photographs, but this only seems to extend to the first 6 images out of 14. They all seem to have been taken on or shortly after December 24th 1936 [MS 02/04/2006]

Other Information - Description: Entry in Mission Diary for December 24th 1936: "There was a strange ceremony on the Cathedral roof at dawn today. As this only happens once a year Chapman went to take photographs. Now that most of the officials have seen our films they take the presence of the 'camera man' as a matter of course. The Kashag and most of the senior officials, in ceremonial dress, visited the many shrines of the Cathedral, and then as the sun rose above the hills to the East of Lhasa they assembled on the roof where a tent had been put up so that they could drink their tea in comfort. Meanwhile, a number of men, dressed in ancient and somewhat dilapidated Tibetan armour and helmets, assembled in a line around the roof. One old warrior with drawn sword and uncouth cries led the war dance, while the rest sang and danced in chorus" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part XI p. 2, written by Chapman] [MS 02/04/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Zimchongpa at Jokhang" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.131.571.html>.

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