Aerial view of Lhasa valley

Aerial view of Lhasa valley

1998.131.224 (Print black & white)

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Photographer's handlist

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

August 31st - September 2nd 1936?



Accession number


Image Dimensions

132 x 175 mm

Looking down on the Lhasa Valley with Lhasa, the Potala and Chakpori below. The photograph was taken from an elevated position on a nearby mountain side. The main routes into the town and around the valley are clearly visible, as is the path of the Kyichu river. The photograph reveals the general layout of Lhasa town and the proximity of cultivation sites and wooded parks, estates and public places across a wide area. The high peaks surrounding Lhasa can be seen rising steeply in the background with a few low-lying clouds touching their peaks

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Faith Spencer Chapman


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Catologue Number

C.3.4 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - There are many cropping and proof-reading marks on the back of the print, written in pencil. This includes the instruction "Square up, cut 1/16 [inch] from each side, and enlarge to 5 1/2 [inches] across". There are also instructions to "Trim off black" on all four sides of the image. '22' has been written in pencil in the top right hand corner on the back of the print. Other annotations should be seen on the object itself. The reference 'C.3.4' has been written on the back, which is part of the referencing system Chapman adopted for the images taken on the Mission to Lhasa in 1936-37. There is also a Chatto & Windus reference, C&W41074/18. Chatto & Windus published Chapman's account of the Mission to Lhasa, Lhasa the Holy City in 1938 [MS 2/2/2005]

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]: 'Air view Lhasa City'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 1, From Gangtok to the Natu La August 1936: ‘31/1 - View over Kyi chu to Lhasa city and Potala’ [MS 16/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.3.' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Lhasa and Dekyi Lingka, especially ‘air views’ [MS 16/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.3.' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Lhasa and Dekyi Lingka, especially ‘air views’, as well as two images of the Ngagchen Rimpoche mounting his horse, apparently at the Dekyi Lingka. This has enabled dating of the image to the period August 31st - September 2nd 1936. These were hectic days for the Mission, and it is notable that the first images in this sequence identify the views as 'early morning', indicating how Chapman would go on long journeys into the surrounding hills even before the other mission members were fully active for the day. At times this caused problems as he was apparently prone to going too far and forgetting the time. This image is a good visual marker of this aspect of Chapman's character and behaviour. [MS 13/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: 1998.131.222 & 1998.131.224 may at first glance appear to be identical. However, they were clearly taken from the same position a few seconds apart because of the very slight variations in the cloud formations above the mountain tops in the distance [MS 13/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Aerial view of Lhasa valley" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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