Lhalu Lhacham seated on a chair in a garden

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2001. (Print)

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Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

June-July 1939

Named Person

Lhalu Lhacham



Accession number


Image Dimensions

60 x 60 mm

Lhalu Lhacham seated on chair in a garden. She is wearing a silk robe, a striped apron and felt boots.

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 - 'Lhalu Lhacham' (in pencil) is written on the reverse of print in Richardson's hand and '516' and 'Velox' in an oval is stamped in black. [KC 5/7/2006]

Research publication - Clare Harris and Tsering Shakya,
Seeing Lhasa, 2003, Chicago: Serindia Publications, p. 75. "Portrait of Lascham [sic] Lhalu in a garden. Gould notes that she was 'A member of high society ... connected by birth with the two previous Dalai Lamas, [and] who live on her estate a mile off. In 1904 it had been the headquarters of the Younghusband Expedition to Lhasa. One of the events of the Lhasa season was an annual luncheon party which she gave to the Cabinet and other high officials. Her hospitality was so urgent that often the fate of at least a few of the guestsd was "Where I dines I sleeps". She had a fund of jokes and stories which were reputed to be broad. I doubt whether even in England men and women live on such natural and easy terms as in Tibet. (1957:236)" [KC 5/7/2006]

Other Information - This image appeared in the 2003 Temporary Exhibition at the Pitt Rivers "Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947"

Clare harris 2003: Lhacham Lhalu, was one of the “first ladies” of Tibet as her father and late husband had both been Dukes, a title only awarded to those related to a Dalai Lama. The family home, the Lhalu mansion on the outskirts of Lhasa, was the headquarters of the Younghusband Expedition to Lhasa in 1904. The house had its own private monastery in which the 13th Dalai Lama would often meditate. By the 1930s she was a popular figure in the social world of Lhasa and one of the few Tibetan women to host parties for the British. Spencer Chapman (1938:319) noted that “ The lady of Lhalu was of middle age and extremely stout. She wore the most wonderful jewellery, and was more made-up than any Tibetan woman I had seen”. “Our hostess was wonderfully good company. … The lunch was excellent but our indefatigable hostess made us eat far more than we wanted, and absolutely forced us to drink quantities of excellent but potent chang.” (Tibetan beer)

Other Information - Lhalu Lhacham is mentioned in Luciano Petech,'s
Aristocracy and Government in Tibet 1728-1959 , Serie Orientale Roma XLV, Roma: Is. M.E.O, 1973 pp. 48-9. "The Lha-klu lha-cham i.e the widow of the old duke, remained unmarried for some years. She had fallen in love with rtsis-dpon Lung-shar, one of the most influential men in Tibet. A marriage was out of the question, as it would have meant the extinction of one of the two houses. Thus in about 1924 in order to ensure the survival of the Lha-klu family, she adopted Lung-shar's younger son, aged 14, by name Tshe-dbang rdo-rje (b.c. 1910). ... Lha-klu lha-cham, the real mainstay of the family ... died in Lhasa a few years after 1959."

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: This image relates to a group of 15 contact prints which all have the same batch development number, 516 printed in black ink upon them. In this group of images there is one picture with Capt. A. H. O O’Malley, who had taken up the post of Medical Officer in Gyantse in July 1938 [see McKay 1997 p.236] and who visited Lhasa in early June 1939. Also, some of the images are from a ceremony at Darpoling Monastery on the 15th Day of the 5th Month, which Richardson states he saw only once and which correlate with the year 1939. Many of the images were taken in and around Lhalu mansion [MS 19/12/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Lhalu Lhacham seated on a chair in a garden" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_2001.>.

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