1998.286.128.2 (Lantern Slide)
Sir Charles Bell
Sir Charles Bell
May 5th 1921
Lhasa > 'Stony' Lingka
81 x 81 mm
St Antony's College, Oxford
Sir Charles Bell's Mission to Lhasa 1920-21
British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections
Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry: "[No. of chapter] XXVII. [Subject of Chapter] Amusements [Subject of Illustration] Q118 (as) Picnic party near Lhasa. Playing a dice game (sho) in the foreground. Note the pad - (shoden) - dice cushion) in foreground with cowries round it. The cowries are used for calculation. [Where placed - book page] G.J. [Remarks] L.139 (Y in L)"
Notes on print/mount - '41' has been written in black ink. This slide seems to have been used as slide 41 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 24/8/2004]
On 25th May 1921 Bell discussed popular forms of Tibetan entertainment with Kusho Palhese and this prompted the following Diary entry, made on 28th May 1921 in relation to the games of Ba and Sho :" Ba played also in lingkas . This is a Chinese game of dominoes. It is played by four persons, and involves a good deal of gambling. // Sho is a game played with dice which also involves a good deal of gambling. Sho is the national Tibetan gambling game, played by all, high and low, the peasantry included. Ba is a Chinese game and requires considerable skill to play as well; its devotees are found almost solely among the upper classes. Among parties in lingkas , people playing sho will very often be found" [Diary Vol. X., pp. 86-7]
Published in 'A Year in Lhasa' in The Geographical Journal, February,1924, facing p.100:"A Picnic Party". This piece was derived from a lecture given to the Royal Geographical Society in London on 3rd December 1923 [MS 10/9/2004]
Other Information - Related Images: Same picnic party as seen in 1998.285.171. The same family can also be seen in 1998.286.127, posing as a group [MS 06/02/2006]
Other Information - Dates: Bell's Diary entry for 5th May 1921:"We ride through the lingka, known as 'Stony Park', where I photograph a gambling party (Photo 3A), and then through the 'Near Young Park' ( Nye-shon Ling-ka) , so called because it is near Lhasa and its trees are but young." [Vol X., pp.50-51]
Other Information - Cultural Background: Bell's Diary for 5th May 1921 reports the following information as told to Bell by Kusho Palhese:"The people of Lhasa repair to the ling-kas for picnics mainly between the 3rd and 7th months (say) from May to August inclusive. Riding today through some of the ling-kas I came across fourteen or fifteen of these picnic parties. The Chinese and the Ladakhis usually had a white tent roof, gaily ornamented with the usual blue designs, over their parties, while the Tibetans sat under trees with only a cloth some five feet high stretched along one side to keep off the wind." [Vol. X., p.51]
Other Information - Cultural Background: On 25th May 1921 Bell discussed popular forms of Tibetan entertainment with Kusho Palhese and this prompted the following Diary entry in relation to picnic parties:"Apart from these games [ horse racing, archery, putting the weight, long-jumping ] picnicking is a very favourite way of spending the day in summer. Between May and September the lingkas are full of picnic parties. Whether government owned or private owned any may come and bring their lunch and tea and spend the day there. Those who are more particular pitch a tent or the roof of a tent, white with blue designs after the Tibetan fashion. Others just sit down under the poplars or willows, and hang a cloth on one side to keep off the breeze. Sho and Ba (Chinese dominoes) will be played, singing and perhaps dancing especially towards evening, and the stories of older days will be recounted by those who know them. Beer and tea there will be in plenty, and food mostly after the Chinese style." [Diary Vol. X., p.82]
For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Picnic party at Stony Park in Lhasa" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.286.128.2.html>.
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