Drepung Monastery from above

Drepung Monastery from above

1998.131.352.2 (Print black & white)

Image for comparison


Raw Image


(Print black & white)

[view record]

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

November 15th 1936


Lhasa Area > Drepung

Accession number


Image Dimensions

259 x 202

Drepung Monastery from above. The wall against which large thanka would be displayed can be seen in the background. A few cultivated fields in the foreground

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver , Enlargement

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.12.17 In publication
'Lhasa Mission 1936, Diary of Events', P. Neame, H. Richardson, F. S. Chapman, Government of India Political Department [Note: photographs for October 18th - November 4th 1936 are not included as their relationship to text is not detailed; see Mission Diary text for details of images] [see photos in publication]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - 'SC Drepung Monastery Dupe [encircled]' has been written on the back of the print [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]: 'Drepung from above'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 2: ‘13/1 - The giant monastery of Drepung which means “Pile of Rice” [listed as C.12.7 sic ]’ [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.12' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Ladakhi men, Ngagchen Rimpoche, Mir/Amir Khan (the mission cook), football match, Dagg, Kham dancers, Nechung, Drepung, Potala and sand track approaching it. They seem to have been taken between October 28th and November 15th 1936 [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: The mission diary for November 15th 1936 states: "Chapman climbed three thousand feet up the mountain overlooking Drepung in order to photograph a bird's eye view of this immense monastery, and to collect seeds of certain rare gentians and primulas which we found flowering there some weeks ago. There were many snowcock on the higher slopes; there were successfully filmed" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part IX p. 2, written by Chapman] [MS 21/03/2006]

Other Information - Description: "Drepung is supposed to house 7700 monks, but sometimes as many as 10,000 live there. The name Dre-pung literally means "the pile of rice", which is what the monastery resembles as its tiers of whitewashed buildings lie one behind the other on a sloping site at the head of a wedge-shaped valley. Looked at from a distance Drepung resembles a large fortified city rather than a single monastery, and it is only when one climbs the steep mountain slopes behind it and looks down on to its innumberable ramifications that one gets a true idea of its immense size. Looked at from below it is foreshortened and many of the buildings are dwarfed or hidden" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, p. 195] [MS 21/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Drepung Monastery from above" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.131.352.2.html>.

For more information about photographic usage or to order prints, please visit the The Pitt Rivers Museum.

© The Pitt Rivers Museum