Officials wearing ringyen dress at New Year

Officials wearing ringyen dress at New Year

1998.157.75 (Transparency colour)

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

February 13th 1937

Named Person



Lhasa > Potala >

Accession number


Three officials, Kyibu on the left [in reversed image; should be on 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

Transparency Colour

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Faith Spencer Chapman


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Technical Information - This transparency has been made in reverse and needs to be flipped to be viewed correctly [MS 07/04/2006]

Research publication - Clare Harris and Tsering Shakya (eds.), 'Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947', Chicago: Serindia Publications, 2003, p. 164.

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

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: Three lay officials dressed for the New Year ceremonies in the robes and ornaments of the Yarlung dynasty rulers of Tibet (seventh to ninth centuries A.D.). The huge amber necklaces and turquoise and gold breast plates, known as 'ringyen' (ancient ornaments), were only removed from the Potala treasury for New Year. The man in the red hat is Kyibu, one of the four boys sent by the thirteenth Dalai Lama to study at Rugby school in England in 1913. In "Lhasa: The Holy City", Spencer-Chapman notes that Tibetans "said it would not upset anybody if I went up at eight o' clock, while the officials were dressing up, to photograph them. [CH 2003]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Officials wearing ringyen dress at New Year" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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