Officials riding up to Potala at New Year

Officials riding up to Potala at New Year

1998.131.580.1 (Film negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

February 13th 1937


Lhasa > Potala (north path)

Accession number


Image Dimensions

60 x 90

Official riding up to the Potala for New Year Festivities wearing gyaluche dress, one in foreground, the second in the extreme left of the image. Attendants also seen background.

Further Information



Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

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

A.13 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

In Negative - 'A-13' has been scratched into the bottom right hand corner of the negative [MS 03/04/2006]

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]: 'Young Geluchey riding up to P[otala]’ [MS 03/04/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: The Mission as a whole was not invited to this, the 2nd day of the New Year ceremonies at the Potala (although this changed in the 1940s), but Chapman was able to go unofficially to take photographs. Mission Diary entry for February 13th 1937: "Chapman went unofficially to the Potala early this morning to photograph a gorgeously bejewelled costume that is worn by thirteen young officials on this day only. ... // Yesterday was the priestly celebration of the New year: today there is a similar ceremony for laymen. ... On this day only in the year the Shapes and Dzasas must wear the "geluchey" dress with its black pleated skirt, multi-coloured silk brocade coat and white cockle shell hat perched on top of the head. Minor officials wear the usual brightly coloured silk robe reaching almost to the ground, and wide flat topped hats edged with fur. Even the servants wear silk" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part XIV pp. 4-5, written by Chapman] [MS 03/04/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'A' comprise a group of negatives containing images of officials and the Regent riding in ceremonial dress up to the Potala, all of which seem to have been taken on February 13th 1937 [MS 03/04/2006]

Other Information - Location: This series of images en route to the Potala Palace in order that Chapman might take photographs of the ringyen jewels, were taken as Chapman ascended the Potala hill, probably on horseback. The lake behind the Potala can be seen in the background in many pictures revealing Chapman's movements and relative position for each image [MS 07/04/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Officials riding up to Potala at New Year" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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