Kusho Lungshar and Tibetan boys

No scan for this photo

1998.285.338.1 (Glass negative)

Image for comparison

Key Information


Sir Charles Bell or Rabden his assistant


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo


Named Person

Lungshar, Ringang, Gongkar


Gangtok > British Residency

Accession number


Image Dimensions

120 x 163 mm

Kusho Lungshar seated in center, two boys sitting at his feet and two standing behind him. All on carpet. Building and garden in background.

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

Photo also owned by

Royal Central Asiatic Society

Previous Catologue Number


Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number



'Tibet Past & Present', Sir Charles Bell, Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1924 [view list of illustrations]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry: "[No. of chapter] LVIII. [Subject of Chapter] History after 1900 [Subject of Illustration] H.309 (b) Kusho Lungshar and the four Tibetan boys going to England for education."

Other Information - People

Other Information - People: The boy seated on left was identified as Ringang [grandfather of Professor Changngopa 9/1999]

In Negative - A black strip has been placed down the left hand side of the negative glass plate, on the non-emulsion side [MS 21/6/2004]

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - Published in 'Tibet Past & Present', Bell, C. A., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924, facing p.164:" 'Four lads of the upper middle class had been sent' (p.163)"

Other Information - Description: "During his stay in Darjeeling I had advised the Dalai Lama to send some Tibetan boys to England for education, for it seemed to me that not only would they be useful to Tibet on their return, but also they would in various ways, provided they were treated well in England, help to draw closer the bonds between the two countries. Four lads of the upper middle class had been sent; Rugby and other places had helped to give them such education as their few years' stay in England allowed. One was set to learn about mining; another, whose school report certified him as fonder of a town-and-gown row than his books, did nevertheless manage to acquire some knowledge of survey and map-making; the youngest, a bright, clever boy, took up electrical engineering, after his school course was completed. The eldest, Gong-kar, was given a military career, serving ten months with the 10th Yorkshires and nine months with the artillery at Woolwich. During these periods he came to realize how stiff military training can be in wartime. // The Indian Government contributed towards the cost of the scheme, for the Tibetan Government was poor, and various signs indicated that both Russia and Japan would be willing to pay the entire cost of such education. Unfortunately the lads were sent back to Tibet before their training was completed. Thus the experiment has not gained such success as greater care might have ensured to it. Still the lads have done some good work, and the youngest has recently returned to England to make good the deficiencies in his earlier education. // Gong-kar was the first to return to Tibet. he rendered useful service in helping to train the raw Tibetan soldiery at Lhasa in up-to-date methods. Both he and two young officers, who had received a measure of training at Gyantse, drilled the Tibetan troops as far as their experience permitted. As each year passed, the Tibetans became stronger for the defence of their country. Gong-kar's death a few years later was no small loss to Tibet." Tibet Past & Present , Bell, C. A., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924, p.163

Other Information - Description: "The Tibetan children are jolly little people, merry, and mischievous. And as they grow a little older, the mirth and the mischief remain. I well remember the four Tibetan boys of the upper middle class whom their Government sent to England in 1914 for a few years' education. They were from twelve to fifteen years of age. My wife and I were able to see something of them as they passed through Gangtok, my head-quarters, and we could not fail to recognize their similarity in many respects to British schoolboys. Their open-hearted natures, their love of a joke, and their robustious health seemed to fit them well for the battle of life. And when they were in England, though they worked perhaps harder than the average English boy, yet they possessed also in some degree the latter's healthy instinct against overtaxing the young brain." 'The People of Tibet', Bell, C. A., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928, p.198

Other Information - People

Other Information - People: Chang Ngopa Rinzin Dorje (known as Ringang). Ringang was translator to the Lhasa cabinet and the magistrate of Purang, a district in southern Tibet. As a 6th rank (in 1936) official he could normally only wear silk in his own home and was not entitled to wear the amulet box which higher officials wore on their heads. In 1913 he was one of the Tibetan boys sent (by Charles Bell and the 13th Dalai Lama) to be educated at Rugby school in England. On his return he was responsible for installing electricity in Lhasa. At the time of the 14th Dalai Lama’s installation in 1940 Ringang was a civil officer in charge of organising and commanding the 600 strong cavalry that attended the event. Basil Gould noted: “ As District Magistrate of a distant part of Tibet (where his wife sometimes discharged his duties), engineer of the mint and of the hydro-electric installation and interpreter to the Cabinet, he had his hands full.” (1957: COMPLETE REFERENCE) [CH 2003]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Kusho Lungshar and Tibetan boys" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.285.338.1.html>.

For more information about photographic usage or to order prints, please visit the The Pitt Rivers Museum.

© The Pitt Rivers Museum