Golok man and his wife

Golok man and his wife

1998.285.312.1 (Glass negative)

Image for comparison


Raw Image


(Lantern Slide)

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Key Information


Rabden Lepcha


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

End of March or early April 1921



Accession number


Image Dimensions

120 x 163 mm

Golok man and his wife come to Lhasa for trade

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative glass plate gelatin , Negative Half Plate

Date Acquired

Donated 1983

Donated by

St Antony's College, Oxford.

Copy difference

Lantern Tape


Sir Charles Bell's Mission to Lhasa 1920-21

Photo also owned by

Royal Central Asiatic Society

Revised Photographer

Rabden Lepcha

Previous Catologue Number


Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number



'The People of Tibet', Sir Charles Bell, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928 [view list of illustrations]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry: "[No. of chapter] LI. [Subject of Chapter] Tribes to the East [Subject of Illustration] H.283 (e) Golok man and his wife come to Lhasa for trade; they bring salt, dried meat etc. In their own country they are inveterate brigands. [Remarks] L.261 (Y in L)"

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Entry from Bell's diary for 4th April 1921 [pp. 76-77]: ‘Rabden, though at last successful, has found great difficulty in getting the Golokpas [?] to allow him to photograph them. “They are men of power (wang-chem-po)” he says; “When I ask them to let me take their photographs, they refuse curtly, saying that there is no such custom with them”. Palhese tells me that the Golokpas are prosperous as a rule, for besides trading in other districts they gain wealth by robbing outsiders in their own. In Lhasa a Golok man will sometimes snatch something off a stall in the market and make a bolt for it. Such are usually captured, but sometimes effect an escape with their booty. The people of Nya-rong are also much given to robbery, ranking perhaps second among Tibetan tribes in this respect, the Golokpas being first’ [MS 1/6/2004]

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - Published in 'The People of Tibet', Bell, C. A., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928, facing p.142:"Go-lok man and his wife in Lhasa." [MS 10/9/2004]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: The Golok region of Tibet lies to the extreme east of Lhasa adjoining the Amnye Machen mountain range. In "Portrait of the Dalai Lama", Bell comments that Golok means, "head turned round, i.e. 'a rebellious people'", but that "these men of Golok who rob travellers and even caravans passing through their own country, come to Lhasa and other parts of Tibet as semi-peaceful traders, who are tolerated as such." (p. 285) The couple pictured may well have visited Lhasa to trade, but the fact that they wear their best long-sleeved 'Chuba' (gown) and 'gau' (amulet boxes) also indicate that their journey was a pilgrimage. [CH, 03/04/2000]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Golok man and his wife" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.285.312.1.html>.

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