Golok man and his wife

Golok man and his wife

1998.285.312.2 (Lantern Slide)

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(Glass negative)

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Key Information


Rabden Lepcha


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

End of March or early April 1921


Lhasa >

Accession number


Image Dimensions

81 x 81 mm

Golok man and his wife come to Lhasa for trade

Further Information

Photographic Process

Lantern Slide

Date Acquired

Donated 1983

Donated by

St Antony's College, Oxford.


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


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)"

Notes on print/mount - '29' has been written in blue-black ink. This slide seems to have been used as slide 29 in the lecture 'A Year in Lhasa', which was first presented at the Royal Geographical Society on 3rd December 1923. The text, with a lesser number of images, was later published in
The Geographical Journal of February 1924. Bell may also have presented this lecture on other occasions about which we have no information at present. [MS 7/9/2004]

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]

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_1998.285.312.2.html>.

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