Yaso commanders at the Monlam Torgyap

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2001. (Print)

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Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

1940 - 1948


Lhasa > Jokhang (main entrance from Doring house)

Accession number


Image Dimensions

101 x 151 mm

Yaso commanders returning to their horses after having prostrated to the Dalai Lama's window outside the main entrance to the Jokhang during Monlam Torgyap. The Shengo (proctors of Drepung monastery) are seated on a bench in the top left hand corner of the photograph.

Further Information


Ritual Activity

Photographic Process

Print silver , Enlargement

Date Acquired

Donated August 2001

Donated by

The executors of the estate of Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh E. Richardson

Other Information

Notes on print - 'Yasor leaving front of Jokhang after prostrating to Dalai Lama' (in blue ink) is written on the reverse of print in Richardson's hand over erased pencil writing ' ... 'This has been printed in reverse ' (in pencil).

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Richardson's hand list: Negative album No.1 'New Year Ceremonies at Lhasa'. The Smon-lam gtor-rgyag Ceremony on 24th of 1st month for driving out evil. Nos. 26, 29, 30. 'The Ya-sor arrive and pay their respects, then return to their cavalry troops which they have left out of sight on the south side of the Jo-khang where they have arrived after riding around the city.' [KC 17/7/2006]

Other Information - Background: See Hugh E. Richardson,
Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year , 1993, London: Serindia Publications, pp 39-49 for a description of the Monlam Torgya ( mon lam gtor rgyag) ceremony. "The ceremony of Monlam Torgya is the longest and the most spectacular event of the New Year celebrations. It is the high point of the Yaso's tenure of office and the day for which the Tsisher was the preparation. It brings together religious and secular elements and marks the formal end of the Monlam Chenmo. ... The ceremony begins with the arrival of the Shengos [proctors of Drepung] and their assistants who march from the Shingra gate, a little way south of the main entrance to the Jokhang. ... They take their seats on a bench below the Dalai Lama's window. (p. 40) ... The Yaso then lead their troops to the south-west corner of the Barkor where they dismount and walk with their attendants to the forecourt of the Jokhang where they prostrate themselves to the Dalai Lama after which they walk back, mount their horses and lead the cavalry slowly past the Jokhang and on round the Barkor to the south-east corner again". (p. 44) [KC 17/7/2006]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: This photograph was probably taken after 1939 as the structure that previously stood over the bench where the Shengo would sit during ceremonies in the First month of the Tibetan year has been removed. Between 1940 and 1948 alterations were made to the Jokhang, an additional window was placed in the wall in the background of the image and the small roofed structure was removed. This has assisted the dating of this image [MS 17/6/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Yaso commanders at the Monlam Torgyap" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_2001.>.

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