Officials descending from Potala at New Year

Officials descending from Potala at New Year

1998.157.91 (Transparency colour

Image for comparison


Raw Image


Reflective scan

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

February 13th 1937


Lhasa > Potala (north path)

Accession number


Group of officials descending on foot from the Potala during the New Year Festivities. The officials at the front in the white hats are wearing Gyaluche dress

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

In Negative - '2LS CT 667/24' has been written on the back of the transparency on the right hand edge [MS 07/04/2006]

Technical Information - This transparency has been produced in reverse and needs to be flipped to view it the right way round [MS 07/04/2006]

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 - 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 descending from Potala at New Year" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

For more information about photographic usage or to order prints, please visit the The Pitt Rivers Museum.

© The Pitt Rivers Museum