Beggar in Lhasa with prayer wheel and rosary

Beggar in Lhasa with prayer wheel and rosary

1998.131.273 (Print black & white)

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Raw Image




With tracing paper


Other Version of this Photo in Hugh E. Richardson collection

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Image in Album

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Other Version of this Photo in Evan Yorke Nepean collection

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Photographer's handlist

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

October 6th - 17th 1936



Accession number


Image Dimensions

166 x 125 mm

Old Lhasa beggar with prayer wheel and rosary. Is wearing a necklace made out of conch shells and in his left hand he's got prayer beads and prayer wheel in right. Small covered bowl or box on his right. Wearing boots that are tied with a textile strip that is wrapped around the top under the knee. The sole is made of leather and woollen cloth is sewn on to make the upper

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.16.12 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


This Image also appears in another collection

BMR. 2001.35.285.1

Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The caption 'A Lhasa beggar turning his prayer wheel' and the reference number 'C-16-12' have been written on the back of the print in pencil. This seems to relate to the numbering system for images adopted by Chapman during the British Mission to Lhasa in 1936-37. There is also a small number '4', which has been encircled, written in pencil in the bottom right hand corner of the back of the print. A piece of tracing paper has been stuck to the back of the print at the top. This would be used to transfer crop marks from the back to the front. There are no crop marks to transfer and so an instruction for size '4 4/5 x 3 2/5' has been written in pencil. A caption has also been written at the bottom of the paper in black ink, which states: "A Lhasa beggar turning his prayer-wheel" [MS 18/2/2005]

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]: 'Old beggar with prayer wheel'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 4: ‘15/1 - Beggar with beads and prayer wheel waiting beside circuit of Holy City’ [MS 16/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.16' comprise a group of negatives containing images of the Regent’s boat waiting for his departure, a mission picnic, the Potala, old beggar monk and Chinese lions at Trapchi. They seem to have been taken during the period October 6th - 17th 1936, although many were used to illustrate the Mission Diary for November 1936 [MS 16/03/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: Chapman wrote an unsympathetic description of beggars he encountered in the city of Lhasa in the book he wrote of his experiences as part of the British Mission in 1936-7 Lhasa the Holy City [London: Chatto & Windus, 1938; reprint, London: Readers Union Ltd., 1940]. He wrote of the beggars who frequented the Pargo Kaling gateway in the west of Lhasa: "Beside the gateway are always swarms of beggars sitting against the wall and, with obtruded tongues and upraised thumbs, whining for alms. Many of the beggars are strong and healthy and could easily work for their living, but in Lhasa begging is a privileged profession, and a beggar would consider it far beneath his dignity to accept any kind of work. Others are aged and loathsome, blind, crippled, and diseased. They just sit there all day, nodding in the sun, only waking up to start their thin whining as somebody rides by. Lhasa is full of such mendicants: any child will come and ask for money: any monk will surreptitiously hold out his hand" [1940, 1938]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Beggar in Lhasa with prayer wheel and rosary" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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