Drigung dzongsar monastery

Drigung dzongsar monastery

2001. (Film negative)

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Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo



East Kyichu Valley Region > Drigung dzongsar

Accession number


Image Dimensions

55 x 55 mm

The sixteenth-century fortress-like monastery of Drigung dzongsar on a hillside. The monastery is protected by ramparts. The Kyichu (skyid chu) river flows in the foreground.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

Date Acquired

Donated August 2001

Donated by

The executors of the estate of Hugh E. Richardson


Richardson's 1948 tour of the East Kyichu Valley

Previous Catologue Number

Negative Album 9 No. 18

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Notes on negative album (slip cover) - 'Drikhung. Chongye. etc.' in Richardson's hand in white. (Yellow spine label) 'DRIKHUNG. CHONGYE. KOTSHAL. RGYAMA. Ganden 1948'. (Cover) - '9 DRIKHUNG. CHONGYE. YARLUNG. GYAMA. GANDEN' [KC 15/5/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Notes in negative index - Folio 18. ''BRI-KHUNG RDZONG GSAR' [KC 17/5/2006]


Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Richardson's Handlist, Negative book no 9, 'Drikhung, Chongye etc. [nos] 17-19. ''Bri-gung Rdzong-gsar is some some 7 miles downstream from Yang-ri dgon, at the junction of the Sho-rong river and the Skyid-Chu. See Mkhyen-brtse p. 111. n.115.' [KC 15/5/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - [Hugh Richardson in conversation with Paddy Booz; see PRM Related Documents File] 'Drigung Dzongsar (also 'Bri khung Dzong sar, Drikhung Dzong gsar). This site is also referred to as Drigung ritro (hermitage, retreat), because of the nearby retreat higher up the mountain. 'Bri khung was considered the 'new' monastery, as opposed to the 'old' Kadampa site of the Yu Sna (Yu na, also spelled G.yu sna) just across the river opposite 'Bri khung (Drigung). These sites are at the Kyi Chu river gap, 60 miles east (upriver) of Lhasa. Shwai Lhakhang (Zhwai) is just before, within site of the Kyi Chu gap. Yuna on the right, Drigung Dzongsar on the right.'

Other Information - Background: Richardson mentions this site in High Peaks, Pure Earth , London, Serindia Publications, 1998, p. 307, "Opposite the valley of the Mna-ra-chu, on a rocky spur at the point where the Skyid-chu in its course from the north turns sharply west, is 'Bri-gung Rdzong-gsar (1948), a sixteenth-century monastery looking like a fortress. It was the administrative headquarters of a district owned by the 'Bri-gung=pa sect of the Bka'-brgyud-pa school. There was a large chapel inside with the usual images of the sect. On the hill on the other side of the Skyid-chu was G.yu-sna monastery, reached by an iron chain suspension bridge attributed to Thang-stong rgyal-po. ..." [KC 17/5/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: See Richardson's note in Mkhen-brtse's Guide to the Holy places of Central Tibet , Serie Orinetale Roma XVI, Alfonsa Ferrari (Luciano Petech), Rome, Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1958, p.111. note 115. "...['Bri gun gsar lies on high ground on the left bank of the sKyid c'u, near the mouth of the gZo ron c'u; it commands one side of the narrow gap where the river emerges from the Klun sod valley. The opposite side is commanded by what is now g.Yu sna dgon pa. This appears to have been an area of importance in the early days of the Tibetan kingdom. ... Today 'Bri gun rdson gsar is primarily a fortress and administrative headquarters of a district governed by the 'Bri gun monastery; but it contains a large 'Bri gun pa chapel. I understand it was founded in the XVI century. ...H[ugh]. R[ichardson]."

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: The contact print of this image is part of a group made from 6x6 negatives that share the same batch development number [585 printed in black ink]. All of the contact prints processed in this batch seem to have been taken during or around the time of a trip to Drigung Monastery and Zhwai (Sha) Lhakhang, including Tsa Pobrag, Yeregang and Khyer. Photographs from this trip can be dated to 1948. In A Corpus of Early Tibetan Inscriptions [ Hertford: Stephen Austin and Son, Royal Asiatic Society, James G. Forlong Series, No. XXIX, 1985, p.45] Richardson states of the Zhwai inscriptions translated in the book that “The texts, which were first published in JRAS in 1952 and 1954, are based on copies and photographs made by me in 1948 and checked on a second visit in the following year”.

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Drigung dzongsar monastery" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_2001.>.

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