Monk attendant to Reting Rinpoche

Monk attendant to Reting Rinpoche

1998.131.523 (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

August 28th 1936


Lhasa > Shide Drokhang

Accession number


Image Dimensions

155 x 112

The monk known to the British Mission as 'Simple Simon' who was an Attendant to the Regent, Reting Rinpoche. Seen here in the garden of the Regent's summer palace, Shide Drokhang. Holding prayer beads with sunflowers lining the path.

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

C.1.11 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


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]: 'Big monk, alone'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 2: ‘34/1 - The huge monk attendant of the Regent outside the latter’s summer palace’ [MS 01/04/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: It has been possible to identify the reference number for this image by cross-referencing the caption for related images prefixed with 'C.1' and identifying the image in the draft album of the images taken during the Mission which was on loan to the PRM for the exhibition "Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital" (2003-4) [MS 01/04/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.1' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Gould, Prime Minister, Regent, ‘big’ monk. They seem all to have been taken on August 27th - 28th 1936, with images in the Regent's palace being taken on the latter date [MS 01/04/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: The Regent of Tibet, Reting Rinpoche, (seated) with a monk attendant known to the British as “Simple Simon” standing by. Spencer Chapman describes this photographic session: “when we all went into the garden the Regent had no objection to being photographed, and it was all I could do to persuade his huge orderly (whom we nicknamed Simple Simon) to move about when I wanted to take some cinema films; he struck what he thought was an imposing attitude and resolutely refused to move.” In the 1936 Mission Diaries “Simple Simon” appears again: 28th August – Lhasa – in the morning they called upon the Regent at his home. “Neame and Chapman were allowed to take photos and cine of the Regent; amongst his attendants was a giant lama, some 7-feet high, and when Neame snapped him he began to talk and wave his arms. These were not threatening gestures as he was only asking for a copy of the photo”. [CH 2003]

Other Information - Description: "The woodwork round the windows is cleverly carved and painted in bright colours. Boxes of gay flowers stand on every window-sill protected from the sun by awnings of white cloth. Moreover the palace [Shide Drokhang] lies in a walled garden with well-kept lawns, and beds full of English flowers in luxuriant bloom. The Regent is extremely fond of pets. He has several cages full of birds, including a talking a 'mina' and a laughing thrush that makes the most fantastic noises in the middle of the most serious conversations" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, p. 100] [MS 01/04/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Monk attendant to Reting Rinpoche" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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