Zimchongpa foot soldiers nearing the Jokhang

Zimchongpa foot soldiers nearing the Jokhang

1999.23.2.34 (Print black & white)

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Key Information


H. Staunton ?


Harry Staunton

Date of Photo

1940 - 1941 [March]


Lhasa > Barkhor

Accession number


Image Dimensions

67 x 112 mm

Zimchongpa warrriors dressed in ancient armour in procession along the Barkhor nearing the Jokhang in central Lhasa. This procession takes place on the twenty-fourth day of the first Tibetan month during the ceremony of the Casting Out the Votive Offering, Monlam Torgya, at the end of the Great Prayer festival, Monlam Chenmo. Crowds of monks line the street and there are spectators in the windows and on the roofs of some of the houses. In the centre in the background there is an extremely tall prayer flag pole. In the centre of the image there is a cloud of smoke. This may be from a musket volley.

Further Information



Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver

Date Acquired

Donated 1999

Donated by

Diana Hughes


H. Staunton

Photo also owned by

Diana Hughes

Other Information

Notes on print/mount - "Velox" in black ink and the number 611 in red are stamped on the back of this image. [KC 28/10/2005]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: Hugh Richardson [ Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year , London: Serindia, 1993, pp. 40-41] writes: "Then an outburst of explosions and war cries announces the arrival of the Zimchongpa at the south-west corner of the Tsuklakhang ... Then the Zimchongpa march noisily up to the forecourt of the Jokhang. Some line the Barkor while others form up in two files in the centre of the road. They take it in turn to display their martial prowess, singing war songs about Penden Lhamo as they do so. The bowmen brandish their bows and the swordsmen make a great show of fencing. Then those with firearms taunt the opposing rank, challenging them with abusive language much enjoyed by the onlookers ... They hold their firearms waist-high pointing towards the opposing rank and after many theatrical gestures they loose them off simultaneously with much noise and smoke." . [KC 28/10/2005]

Other Information - Related images: 1999.23.2.35, 1999.23.2.13, 1999.23.2.14, 1999.23.2.17, 1999.23.2.18, 1999.23.2.43. These all document the procession on the 24th of the 1st Tibetan month. [KC 28/10/2005]. Also, 1999. is a photograph of the same street taken at a different time. [KC 29/11/2005]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: Staunton was certainly in Lhasa for the Tibetan New Year in 1940 and possibly in 1941. This image is part of a group of 17 photographs taken over a two-day period (the 23rd and 24th of the first Tibetan month) which have the number 611 stamped in red on the back. [KC 31/10/2005]

Other Information -

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: According to T. the squat 3-storey house on the right is Pomdatsang (The old Tsarong house). The house opposite it is the Surkhang house and the house in the foreground, on the left, with people on the roof is Lhabrang Nyingba. The photograph was probably taken from the roof of Samdru Phodrang (also known as Phodangshar and Yabshi Sampho) the house of the 7th Dalai Lama's (Kelsang Gyatso) family. [KC 14/11/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Zimchongpa foot soldiers nearing the Jokhang" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1999.23.2.34.html>.

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