Hugh E. Richardson
55 x 85 mm
Donated August 2001
The executors of the estate of Hugh E. Richardson
Hugh E. Richardson
Notes on print - 'noble official YA-SOR Ru thog' (in pencil) is written on the reverse of print in Richardson's hand and 'Velox' in an oval is stamped in black. [KC 21/9/2006]
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: The Yasö General, Ruthog Dapön, and two attendants. The Yasö Generals are commanders of an ancient Tibetan militia whose elaborate dress could be so heavy that they could not stand up (according to Richardson). Only fourth rank officials were allowed to take this role and those who performed it incurred great expense when ordering the fine gowns required. In 1940 Ringang was a Yasö General and Dundul Namgyal (George) Tsarong became one later.
Other Information - Background: Richardson briefly discusses the duties of the Yaso in Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year, 1993, London: Serindia Publications, pp. 31-3. Two officials were appointed with the Mongol title of Yaso for the duration two days on the 22nd and 23rd days of the first Tibetan month for the preparations of the camp at Lubu and the Review at Trapchi. The title Yaso carries with it the responsibilities of commanding the two wings of the ancient militia and leading the military exercises over the two days. "In the morning,dressed in magnificent robes and mounted on ponies caparisoned with gilded trappings and coloured rosettes on their heads, the Yaso ride in procession with a large retinue to the Jokhang ... The Yaso robes are of the most costly brocade embroidered with dragons on the front and back, and so heavy they can stand up by themselves. They weaar large, round,flat hats with a fur brim and red silk crown with a vase-shaped gold and turquoise ornament and a coral button on top. The robe is girded by a wide gold belt and they wear a dagger, an embroidered purse and a silk-covered cup case. Their attendants are also in fine brocade or silk of blue or green; some have a red baldric over the right shoulder; some have flat fur-brimmed hats; others have Mongol style fez-shaped brocade hats; they wear gold bracelets and carry coral rosaries." (p. 31) [KC 21/9/2006]
Other Information - Dates: Contact prints of the type of which this image was made seem to have been made between 1944-49. There are 46 images printed out on Velox paper with no batch number references, including many images of the Nechung oracle, certain inscriptions and visits to monasteries and historical sites as well as scenes with officials on a swing. Some of the images are clearly related to the Nechung Oracle ceremony that took place on the 8th Day of the 5th Month of the Tibetan Year of 1944, some contain images of Major James Guthrie who took up the post of Civil Surgeon Bhutan and Tibet, spending some considerable time in Lhasa, in March 1945 [see Tibet and the British Raj, Alex McKay, Richmond: Curzon Press, 1997, p.237] and many images have been dated on the back by Richardson to 1946. They also include images of the Samye inscription pillar, which Richardson states that he photographed in 1949 [ A Corpus of Early Tibetan Inscriptions , Royal Asiatic Society, James G. Forlong Series, No. XXIX, Hertford: Stephen Austin & Sons Ltd, 1985, p.26] [MS 17/12/2005]
For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Ruthog Depon in the clothes of a Yaso with attendants" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_2001.59.9.73.2.html>.
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