Drepung monastery

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2001. (Print)

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Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo



Lhasa Area > Drepung

Accession number


Image Dimensions

59.5 X 48 mm

Drepung ('bras spungs) monastery nestling against a mountain. The river Kyichu flows in the foreground.

Further Information

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 - 'Drepung'.

Other Information - Background: Drepung was founded in 1416 by the followers of Tsingkhapa who had already established the Jokhang and instituted the annual New Year ceremony of the 'Great Prayer' or Monlam chenmo (smon lam chen mo) in 1408. In 1409, he founded his own monastery of Ganden (dga ldan) and his style of religion later became known as the Gelugpa (dge lugs pa order closely associated with the Dalai Lama. A further monastery, Sera, was founded in 1419. Since the mid-eighteenth century the Gelugpa ordeer was in control of the government and the administration of the whole of Tibet. The centre of its power was Lhasa where it was overshadowed by the three monasteries of Ganden, Sera and Drepung. In the twentieth century Drepung was the largest monastery with at least 8000 monks and together these monasteries housed more than 20,000 monks.
A Cultural History of Tibet , David Snellgrove and Hugh Richardson, 2003, Bangkok: Orchid Press, pp. 180-182, 237. [KC 13/9/2006]

Other Information - History: Drepung ('bras-spungs) monastery was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden (1397-1449) a disciple of Tsongkhapa founder of the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and named after the abode of Shridhanyakata in south India. It was the largest monastery in the world, inhabited by approximately 9000 monks of the Geluk sect, and was closely associated with the Dalai Lama lineage. It was a few miles north-west of Lhasa.

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: This image has been dated to 1936-8 because it seems to have been part of a group of images that were developed as contact prints during this time, and which were distinctively cropped with a decorative edge [MS 16/12/2005]

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

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