Horses in Norbu Lingka stables

Horses in Norbu Lingka stables

1998.131.340.1 (Contact Print)

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Raw Image


(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

February 16th 1937


Lhasa > Norbu Lingka > Stables

Accession number


Image Dimensions

60 x 89

Norbu Lingka stables with carved and painted portico and wall frescoes. The carving and painting of the stables shows the Buddhist idea that animals also have a chance in the Wheel Of Life and that they deserve equal respect as humans. The Norbu Lingka (Jewel Park) was the official Summer Residence of the Dalai Lamas from the mid 18th Century onwards. The stables were just outside the Tsokyil Potrang complex and were decorated with murals depicting actual and mythical Tibetan stories involving horses, their rearing, feeding and training.

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.18 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The print has been developed using Velox paper and the trade name, in an oval, is printed on the back of the image. The batch development 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]: 'Full General view stables'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 2: ‘11/1 - Ponies in late Dalai Lama’s Norbhu Lingka stables’ [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 - 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. "Horses in Norbu Lingka stables" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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