Gyayum chenmo, mother of the Dalai Lama and family

Gyayum chenmo, mother of the Dalai Lama and family

2001. (Film negative)

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Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

1948, 1949

Named Person

14th Dalai Lama's mother, Tsering Dolma, Jetsun Pema, Khando Tsering


Lhasa > Yabshi Takster

Accession number


Image Dimensions

55 x 57 mm

The Dalai Lama's mother, Gyayum Chenmo, Dekyi Tsering, (seated) with the wife of an Indian official, standing on the left and her eldest daughter, Tsering Dolma (in sunglasses) on the right. The girl on the left is the Dalai Lama's sister, Jetsun Pema (b. 1940) and the girl on the right is Tsering Dolma's daughter, Khando Tsering. The photograph is most probably taken in front of a large window of the Dalai Lama's new family house in Lhasa, Yabshi Takster. The bottom of a bird cage may be seen in the top left hand corner.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

Date Acquired

Donated August 2001

Donated by

The executors of the estate of Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh E. Richardson

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Notes on negative album - '7' 'PEOPLE'

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Notes on negative index - Folio 10 . 'do' [Gyayum chenmo and family].

Other Information - Biography: 'The person seated in the centre is the Gyayam chenmo [the Dalai Lama's mother]. The adults on the left and right are the Nepalese Representative's wife? and Tsering Dolma (the Dalai Lama's elder sister). The children on the left and right are Jetsun Pema (the Dalai Lama's youngest sister) and her cousin, Kangdrul la (Tsering Dolma's daughter). [TT in conversation with KC] [KC 9/6/2006]

Clare Harris 2003: The 14th Dalai Lama’s mother – know to Tibetans as Gyayum chenmo (or “great mother”) with two of his siblings, an unidentified Indian woman and a Tibetan maid. Gyayum Chenmo gave birth to the 14th Dalai Lama in a village near Kumbum in Amdo, eastern Tibet on June 6th 1935. Since they lived in Amdo, the family spoke Chinese but as Gould remarks “The children are sturdy and intelligent and, as might be expected, have easily out-distanced their parents in learning Tibetan. No family could appear to be more closely knit. The happiness in their faces must stand for real happiness in their lives”. (1957:220)

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Gyayum chenmo, mother of the Dalai Lama and family" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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