Surkhang Se in gyaluche dress

Surkhang Se in gyaluche dress

1998.131.494.2 (Print black & white)

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Raw Image



Key Information


Hugh Richardson?


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

February 13th 1937


Lhasa > Surkhang House

Accession number


Image Dimensions

258 x 201

Lhawang Tobgyal Surkhang in ceremonial gyaluche dress as worn at New Year. Seated, with a textile-covered pillar next to him.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Mrs Faith Spencer Chapman


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Catologue Number

5.12 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The back of this print is covered in crop and reproduction instructions. The reference '5-12' has also been written on the back of the print in pencil [MS 30/03/2006]

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]: 'Surkang. Odd dress full fitting' [MS 30/03/2006]

Exhibition - This image appeared in the 2003 Temporary Exhibition at the Pitt Rivers "Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947"

Research publication - Clare Harris and Tsering Shakya (eds.), 'Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947', Chicago: Serindia Publications, 2003, p. 14. Wrongly identified as Wangchen Geleg.

Other Information - Surkhang Lhawang Tobgyal (1915-1970), Wangchen Geleg's younger brother, "attended the English school at Gyantse (for one year only) and entered the [government service] in 1931. In 1934 he became assistant to the Grva bshi hydroelectric station. In 1942 he was appointed mda'-dpon and in 1943 was posted to the Grva bshi regiment to Nag-chu-kha. ... In 1948 he was a member of the Tibetan tade mission to China, Europe and America led by Sha-sgab-pa. He left Tibet in 1959 and died at Seattle in 1970." Luciano Petech, Aristocracy and Government in Tibet 1728-1959 , 1973, Serie Orientale Roma, XLV, ISMEO, p.152. [KC 28/10/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with '5' comprise a group of negatives mainly containing images of Kyibu and family and Surkhang and family. [MS 30/03/2006]

Other Information - Photographer: Images in this group were probably taken by Hugh Richardson. Not only is this suggested on the back of print 1998.131.494.1, but circumstantial evidence also suggests this. This kind of ceremonial dress would be worn on the 2nd day of the New Year, which in 1937 fell on February 13th. Chapman was the only member of the mission who was allowed to go to the Potala on that day, where he took photographs and cine film of officials on horseback and of the 'Pole Trick' outside the Potala. Richardson, however, had to visit about eight lesser officials with New Year greetings, some of whom would be wearing special dress prior to or after going to the Potala. As this image seems to have been taken in Surkhang Se's house, given that it is accompanied by photographs of his family, it seems likely that this image was taken by Richardson whilst making a New Year visit [MS 30/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Surkhang Se in gyaluche dress" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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