Painting in Norbu Lingka stables

Painting in Norbu Lingka stables

1998.131.332 (Contact Print)

Image for comparison


Raw Image


Photographer's handlist

[view record]

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman?


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

February 16th 1937


Lhasa > Norbu Lingka > Stables

Accession number


Image Dimensions

90 x 60

Painting on wood in Chinese style on wall in Norbu Lingka stable depicting Arhats and attendants.

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

D.17 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The contact print has been made on Velox paper and the trade name is printed on the back of the image [Velox in oval]. The batch number '631' has also been printed on the back in red ink [MS 21/03/2006]

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]: 'Figures grouped around lake' [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: It has been possibly to identify this image from Chapman's handlist and related images in the collection [1998.131.335, 336, 339 & 340] to the sequence of negatives prefixed with 'D.', all of which seem to have been taken on February 16th 1937, the day before the mission party left Lhasa [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'D' comprise a group of negatives containing images of the Potala and dancers at the Potala, Norbu Lingka animals, dance at Nechung. Those images taken at Norbu Lingka seem to have been taken on February 16th 1937, the day before the mission party left Lhasa [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Chinese style painting is often seen as decoration on wooden furniture, however, this scene has a more obviously religious intent [TS 17/2/2005]

Other Information - Description: "Perhaps the most surprising thing in all the Norbhu Lingka is the Dalai Lama's stables. The stalls are arranged along three sides of a cobbled courtyard and around another block in the centre. On each side of the entrance gateways are two paintings, the Mongolian leading a tiger, and, in a style that recalls an Italian primitive, a man followed by an amiable-looking elephant laden with symbolic jewels. These paintings one has seen elsewhere, but over every stall is the most enchanting fresco painted in bright colours on the plaster of the wall. Many of these are equestrian subjects ... One of the most interesting shows the anatomy of the horse. ... Other paintings illustrate Chinese proverbs and folk-tales: four figures are trying to move something that looks like an enormous peach; a boatload of people crossing a lake while an old man sits wrapped in thought, and a wisp of cloud flowing from his brain is developed to form a vision of the Buddha. // All these frescoes, though slightly splashed and discoloured, are marvellously executed and must be the work of first-class artists ... these equestrian studies exhibit a rate economy of line and colour and are quite unlike other work I saw in Lhasa" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, p. 188] [MS 21/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Painting in Norbu Lingka stables" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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