Palden Lhamo ceremony

Palden Lhamo ceremony

BMR. (Album Print black & white)

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Photographer's handlist

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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

November 28th 1936


Lhasa > Barkhor (from Surkhang House)

Accession number


Image of Palden Lhamo (or Penden Lhamo) the chief protectress of Buddhism and the Dalai Lamas, being carried around Lhasa. Monks, officials and spectators.Chair carried behind the figure. (x)

Further Information


Ritual Activity

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.17.7 [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 - The back of the print is covered in crop marks and reproduction instructions. The reference 'C-17-7' has been written on the back of the print in pencil, as has the caption 'Palden Lhamo body in procession in Lhasa streets' [MS 03/04/2006]

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]: 'The idol itself [Palden Lhamo]. poor'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 1, From Gangtok to the Natu La August 1936: ‘38/3 - Image of Palden Lhamo being carried from cathedral through streets. Queen Victoria is supposed to be an incarnation of her’ [MS 03/04/2006]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: The representation of Palden Lhamo, chief protectoress of Buddhism, the Dalai Lama and all Tibet, being carried around Lhasa. This photograph was taken on November 28th 1936 from the roof of Surkhang Se’s house. The image is halted in front of all the important houses in Lhasa and the owner makes an offering to appease the deity.

Research publication - This image was published in Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year , Hugh Richardson, London: Serindia Publications, 1993, p. 112. However, it has been printed in reverse [MS 03/04/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.20' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Palden Lhamo procession down street, Kalon lama and Pendong and Regent’s house and monastery. This group of images had been given the heading “‘Queen Vic’ Procession” by Chapman in his handlist. Queen Victoria was reputed to have been an incarnation of Palden Lhamo [see notes for C.17.7 in handlist] [MS 03/04/2006]

Other Information - Description: Entry in Mission Diary for November 28th 1936: "There was a great procession in the city today. An enormous image of the goddess Palden Lhamo was taken from the Cathedral and carried through the streets. This is the goddess of whom Queen Victoria was supposed to be an incarnation. Lamas, many of them grotesquely masked, first cleared a way through the densely crowded streets. When the goddess appeared long trumpets were blown, drums were beaten, and a great pyramid of straw was burnt in the street, while lamas danced and chanted. This goddess, when the world was young, was about to destroy all creation; but in the nick of time a husband was found for her and he, apparently, appeased her wrath. On the day that she is taken round Lhasa her husband, who is kept in a monastery on the other side of the Kyi Chu, is also taken out and they are allowed to behold each other annually, at a distance of several miles" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part X p. 1, written by Chapman] [MS 03/04/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Palden Lhamo ceremony" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <>.

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