Black hat dancers at Tse gutor, Deyang shar, Potala

Black hat dancers at Tse gutor, Deyang shar, Potala

BMR.6.8.132 (Transparency colour)

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Flipped Negative

Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo



Lhasa > Potala > Deyang shar

Accession number


Image Dimensions

60 x 90 mm

The Eastern Courtyard (Deyang shar) of the Potala is the setting for the important ceremony of the 'Votive Offering of the Twenty-Ninth Day', Tse gutor (rtse dgu gtor) held on the 29th day of the 12th Tibetan month. The long, steep, triple stair through which the dancers enter the courtyard can be seen in the centre of the image and above it three wide windows. The topmost one is reserved for the Dalai Lama and the lower two for the Kashag and other high-ranking officials. Black hat (zhva nag) dancers encircle a group of masked dancers.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Transparency Colour


Hugh E. Richardson

Flipped Negative

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Other Information

Technical Information - The camera used to take this collection of colour slides (Dufay colour) were a Zeiss Super Ikonta and a Reflex Korelle. [KC 09/10/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Typewritten handlist entitled 'Hugh Richardson Collection, The British Museum. Photographs taken between 1936-50. Cameras: Zeiss Super Ikonta, Reflex Korelle. 300 colour slides (Dufay colour); copies made Jan. 1995.
[no.] 132. Great Eastern Courtyard of the Potala. End of the year Gutor ceremony, performed on the 29th day of the twelth lunar month. This solemn cham dance purges the sins and misfortune of the past year and prepares the way for the New Year.' [KC 10/10/2006]

Other Information - Background: See Hugh Richardson, Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year , 1993, London: Serindia Publications, pp. 116-123 for a description of this event. "The year draws to a close with the Tse Gutor, a solemn performance of cham , Tantric dances, to purge the accumulated sins and mischances of the past and to clear the way for the year to come. Of the whole cycle of ceremonies, it is the most deeply charged with mystic, almost sacramental, significance. ... The setting for the ceremony is the great eastern courtyard of the Potala, the Deyang Shar. It is entered by a long, steep, triple stair below which is a well-proportioned flight of stone steps. The wide central windows are hung with bright valances; the uppermost, curtained with yellow silk, is that of the private room of the Dalai Lama from which he may watch the dances; the two below are for the Kashag and other senior officials repectively. Over the head of the stairway is a fine brocade curtain. On the north side of the courtyard a long canopy, beautifully decorated with designs in blue and with a large demon head in the centre, shelters the padded seats for the monk orchestra. An open parapet above it provides a viewpoint for spectators as does a similar parapet to the south beneath which are galleries for ladies and other distinguished persons. ... " (p. 116) [KC 1/8/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Black hat dancers at Tse gutor, Deyang shar, Potala" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <>.

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