Officials wearing ringyen dress at New Year

Officials wearing ringyen dress at New Year

1998.131.592.1 (Contact Print)

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Raw Image


(Print black & white)

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Other Version of this Photo in Hugh E. Richardson collection

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

February 13th 1937

Named Person



Lhasa > Potala

Accession number


Image Dimensions

60 x 91

Three officials, Kyibu on the right, wearing ancient Tibetan dress known as ringyen for New Year celebrations in 1937. They are wearing silk robes with amber and coral necklaces and a circular gold and turquoise ornament. Kyibu's hat has a scarlet crown and is a sign that he is one of two officials chosen by the Regent for special duties during the ceremony. This dress is supposed to be that which was worn by the ancient kings of Tibet

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

A.14 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


This Image also appears in another collection


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The contact print has been printed out using Velox paper and the trade name can be seen on the back of the print in an oval. The batch development number '640' has been printed on the back in red. [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]: '1/2 Three officials in special dress'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 3: ‘10/3 - Three of thirteen young officials in splendid dress for a ceremony on 12th Feb [ sic ] of welcoming New year. Their dresses are supposed to be part of the actual wardrobe of the ancient kings of Tibet. the necklaces are of solid amber and (the other) of coral. The breastplate and earrings are of gold and turquoise. On the right is Kyipup an old Rugbeian’ [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. It is supposed to be the actual raiment worn by the former kings of Tibet. Over somewhat tattered silk robes each wore two long necklaces, one, of amber, each stone being bigger than a golf ball, and the other of coral. In the centre of the breast was a circular gold and turquoise ornament about six inches in diameter. From each side of the head were suspended more ornaments; one, a bar of gold about 18 inches in length studded with a row of ancient Tibetan turquoises so heavy that it had to be supported in the hand. Two of the thirteen who were chosen by the Regent for special ceremonial duties, wore high crowned scarlet hats, while the others wore a smaller silken headdress" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part XIV p. 4, 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 wearing ringyen dress at New Year" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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