Hugh E. Richardson
East Kyichu Valley Region > Shorongchu river > Drigung thil
60 x 60 mm
Donated August 2001
The executors of the estate of Hugh E. Richardson
Richardson's 1948 tour of the East Kyichu Valley
Notes on print/mount - 'mThil' (in pencil) and ''Bri gung mthil' (in black ink) are written on the reverse of print in Richardson's hand and '585' and 'Velox' in an oval is stamped in black.[KC 10/6/2006]
Manual Catalogues - Notes in negative index - Folio 12. 'do' [BRI-KHUNG MTHIL] 'Main temple'. [KC 15/5/2006]
Manual Catalogues - Richardson's Handlist, Negative book no 9, 'Drikhung, Chongye etc. [nos] 8-16. ''Bri-khun Mthil, the principal monastery of the 'Bri-khung sect c 25 miles up river from Yang-ri dgon. See Mkhyen-brtse p. 111.' [KC 15/5/2006]
Other Information - Setting: The monastery of Drigung thil is mentioned 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 116. 'The monastery is situated about 100 miles north-east of Lhasa, on a ridge resembling a sheep's back ... in the upper part of the gZo valley ... . [T'il, the origianl 'Bri gun foundation, is spread over the side of a hill on the right sid e of the upper waters of the gZo ron c'u. The chapels and the colleges are at different levels, joined by steep stone steps and, in some cases, wooden ladders. The monastery is at an elevation of 13,000 feet or higher. There are no signs of cultivation further upstream. There is a ruined lha-khang at the foot of the hill said to have been destroyed by the Mongols (Sog po). ... About 300 ordinary monks and 60 mts'ams pa, who have a separate assembly hall and wear long hair and white shawls." [KC 15/5/2006]
Other Information - Background: Richardson describes the site in High Peaks, Pure Earth , London, Serindia Publications, 1998, pp. 308-9, "Twelve miles further up the valley [from Yangri monastery] ... one comes to 'Bri-gung Mthil (1948), the mother monastery of the 'Bri-gung Bka'-brgyud-pa sect founded in 1179 by 'Bri-gung Chos-rje. It is a scatter of temples, chapels and monastic residences spread widely over a steep hillside overlooking a patch of cultivated ground by the Sho-rong-chu. The buildings are connected by walkways and ladders along the hill. The gtsug-lag-khang and assembly hall is built on a solid stone rampart about sixty feet high. ... The monastery was a rather bewildering collection of widely separated buildings; it was difficult to get a single view of it." [KC 15/5/2006]
Other Information - The monastery and the surrounding settlement was established in the 12th Century by Jikten Gonpo (1143-117). The area was said to be the location of a hermitage of Minyak Gomring, who was the chief dispile of Phakmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo, (1110-1170) the founder of Dri-khung Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Traditionally, the Tibetans say that wealth of Dri -Khung sect. The monastery was regarded as fabulously wealthy. Richardson visited the monastery in 1948.[TS 28/4/2005]
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. "The main temple at Drigung thil monastery" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_2001.59.15.19.2.html>.
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