Nechung Oracle leaving the Jokhang

No scan for this photo

2001. (Contact Print)

Image for comparison

Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

April 18th 1939


Lhasa > Jokhang (main entrance from Doring house)

Accession number


Image Dimensions

55 x 53 mm

The Nechung Oracle coming out of the Jokhang during the Lugong gyalpo (glud 'gong rgyal po) ceremony. Above is a balcony where important lay and ecclesiastical officials can be seen watching. A crowd of monks can be seen surrounding the Nechung Oracle who is to the left of the ceremonial umbrella in the centre of the image. Monks holding hand drums can be seen in the group. There is a horizontal white line at the bottom of the image.

Further Information


Divining , Performing

Photographic Process

Print silver

Date Acquired

Donated August 2001

Donated by

The executors of the estate of Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh E. Richardson

Other Information

Notes on print - 'Nechung Oracle at Jokhang'. Velox printing out paper with a red batch number '610' printed in red ink. [KC 23/10/2006]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: Contact prints of the kind that was made of this image which had red development numbers of '6--' seem to have been developed in c.1938. However, Richardson does not seem to have been in Lhasa to witness this ceremony in 1938 and so it seems most likely that the image was taken in 1939 [MS 19/12/2005]

Other Information - Background: Richardson describes Gould’s meeting with the Nechung oracle in 1936 in Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year , 1993, London: Serindia Publications, pp 49-50 . "When Sir Basil Gould visited Lhasa in 1936 the Nechung Oracle, to general surprise, came to visit him. Such a meeting had never happened before. He was a sturdy monk with a large, smiling, rather pale face and an open and cheerful manner who later became a very good and hospitable friend. He was about forty-two years old and his name was Lobzang Namgye. He had formerly been a junior official in the Shö office, known to be sociable and very fond of mahjong. In 1934 without warning and much against his will he was chosen for the position and became a greatly venerated personage with the title of Ta Lama and the honorific epithet of Chöjé and the duties of a Chökyong, a protector of the faith, and the head of a small wealthy monastery with a pleasant sunny house of his own. During my time at Lhasa before his death in 1945, whenever I left or returned there officially, I would find his steward waiting by the side of the road with an urgent command to go up to Nechung for tea with the Ta Lama, which always included a delicious lunch. At other times I visited him in his country estate in the Tölung valley where he and his monks relaxed in a pleasant park, wearing holiday dress and enjoying archery at which the Oracle was expert. In return he came frequently to Dekyilingka often at short notice." [KC 23/10/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Nechung Oracle leaving the Jokhang" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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