Repairing Norbhu Lingka gate

Repairing Norbhu Lingka gate

1998.131.323 (Film negative)

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Raw Image


Photographer's handlist

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

December 1936


Lhasa > Norbu Lingka > Gate

Accession number


Image Dimensions

85 x 114 mm

Repairing the Norbu Lingka gateway. Wooden poles propped against the roof joists on the right hand side and people standing on the roof

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

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.15.16 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

In Negative - The number '16' has been scratched into the negative in the bottom right hand corner [MS 28/4/2005]

Technical Information - This image was taken with a quarter plate Zeiss Nixe film or film pack camera as the negative is quarter-plate sized. See Chapman
Lhasa The Holy City, [London: Chatto & Windus, 1938] for a description of the still and cine cameras that Chapman used as Mission photographer [MS 25/2/2005]

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]: 'Repairing gate at N. Lynka [Norbu Lingka]' [MS 20/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.15.' seem to have been taken over a relatively long period from November 26th to January 7th. This may have been because Chapman was running out of quarter plate film at this point because the only other images he took using this film type appear to have been of the interior of the Norbhu Lingka, the Potala and ceremonies at the Jokhang. However, on December 20th he comments that "something is wrong with the 1/4 plate camera" [1938: 294], which may have influenced his use of it. Images with prefix 'C.15' comprise a group of negatives containing images of threshing barley, Regent’s house, ferry near Dekyi Lingka and panoramic views of environs, mummers, Norbu Lingka, paper chase, tea at football match, Everest permit, Khampa people. This collection of images is headed with the title of ‘Rural Pursuits’ and it seems that Chapman may originally have intended to use this box of negatives whilst seeking out scenes such as threshing barley. However, this objective seems to have passed as the negatives were used, as a wider variety of images than this title suggests were taken. This may also reflect the limitations of access to such scenes in and around the mission compound in the Dekyi Lingka and the constraints upon the photographic agenda of the mission [MS 13/03/2006]

Other Information - Historical Background: In 1904 the British had not been allowed to visit the Norbhu Lingka, however the Gould Mission was invited. [Marina de Alarcón ZF 1995.1]

Other Information - Description: Chapman wrote a fairly full description of the stonework wall surrounding the Norbhu Lingka, the Dalai Lama's summer residence. In Lhasa the Holy City [London: Chatto & Windus, 1938; reprint London: Readers Union, 1940] Chapman wrote: "The Norbhu Lingka consists of a walled enclosure nearly half a mile each way and more or less square in shape. The Tibetans are skilled wallers, and this is as good an example as any. More than ten feet high, it is built of huge blocks of granite laid in lines and separated by smaller fragments of stone set horizontally. The lower part is whitewashed and is separated from the reddened upper part by a string course. Along the ground at the foot of the wall lie huge coping-stones of granite; these were brought with much labour, often as a punishment for some minor crime, from the mountains on the other side of the Sera plain; but as the strength of the wall was found insufficient to bear so great a weight their use has been abandoned and many of them have lately been broken up for other purposes. ... The main gate is most impressive, with a roof of highly glazed tiles and the usual golden medallions on a background of dark red. On each side and above the gate is a system of branching woodwork painted red and picked out with flower designs in bright colours" [1940, p.183] [MS 28/4/2005]

Other Information - There is some building or renovation work taking place because of the supporting poles on the right hand side [TS 17/2/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Repairing Norbhu Lingka gate" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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