Throne room, Norbu Lingka

Throne room, Norbu Lingka

BMR. (Album Print black & white)

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Other Version of this Photo in Frederick Spencer Chapman collection

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Image in Album

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Hugh E. Richardson

Date of Photo

December 24th 1936?


Lhasa Area > Norbu Lingka > Throne room

Accession number


The Dalai Lama's throne in the reception room at the Norbhu Lingka. The monks would sit on the low cushions at the side if the Dalai Lama were teaching. Carpets can be seen in the floor and banners are suspended from the ceiling and are wrapped around pillars

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Donated to the British Museum in 1986 by Hugh E. Richardson

Previous Catologue Number

C.20.7 [view film roll]

Related Collections

F. S. Chapman Collection in the Pitt Rivers Museum

This Image also appears in another collection


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - 'Dalai Lama's throne Norbhu Lingka' has been written beneath the image in the album in pencil, apparently not by Hugh Richardson [MS 10/06/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Caption in Chapman's hand-written list of negatives made whilst on the Mission to Lhasa, 1936-7 [See PRM Manuscripts Collection]: 'Norbhu [Norbu] Lingka int. 2 rugs on ground v. [vertical]'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 2: ‘10/1 - Dalai Lama’s throne in assembly room in Norbhu Lingka palace. Notice thankas on wall’ [MS 20/03/2006]

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - This image was reproduced in Chapman's book Lhasa the Holy City , with the caption 'Dalai Lama's throne in reception room at Norbhu Lingka' [London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, facing p. 184] [MS 20/03/2006]

Exhibition - This image appeared in the 2003 Temporary Exhibition at the Pitt Rivers "Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947" [MS 10/06/2006]

Other Information - Album: This image appears alongside one other of the interior of the Norbu Lingka on page 4 of Hugh Richardson's album 'Lhasa 1936' [MS 10/06/2006]

Other Information - Description: "The Dalai Lama's reception room is magnificently decorated. The throne, on which he used to sit cross-legged, is about six feet higher than the polished floor. Over the front of it hangs a wonderful piece of embroidery showing the swastika and sacred thunderbolt (dorje) symbols. On each side are pillars swathed in heavy silk hangings. A row of richly coloured thankas framed in brocade hangs along the back wall. The roof beams and the capitals of the pillars are especially beautifully decorated with gold and bright-coloured flower patterns" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, p. 184]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Both 1998.131.325 [C.20.9] and 1998.131.330 [C.20.7] appear to have been taken on the same day. However, in one carpets have been placed on the floor in front of the throne and in the other they are absent [MS 20/03/2006]

Other Information - Historical Background: The Dalai Lama’s throne in an assembly chamber at the Chensek Potrang, one of the palaces built by the 13th Dalai Lama at the Norbhu Lingka. The building was erected at the end of the 19th century [CH 2003]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.20' comprise a group of images taken at a ceremony at the Jokhang and in the Norbu Lingka. The images from the Jokhang are not in the PRM collection, but it is possible to date these to December 24th 1936. It seems likely that Chapman may have made a visit to the Norbu Lingka on the same day to take some further images of the interior there. They seem almost certainly to have been taken in the week before January 1937 [MS 18/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Throne room, Norbu Lingka" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <>.

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