Sertreng procession in front of Potala

Sertreng procession in front of Potala

1998.285.153 (Glass negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Rabden Lepcha?


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

April 8th 1921


Lhasa > Potala (from Chakpori) >

Accession number


Image Dimensions

120 x 163 mm

Procession of monks going through the Pargo Kaling (Western Gate to Lhasa) carrying banners. Two huge tankas hanging from the Potala palace. Sertreng ceremony. Mountains in background.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative glass plate gelatin , Negative Half Plate

Date Acquired

Donated 1983

Donated by

St Antony's College, Oxford.

Copy difference

Copy Neg


Sir Charles Bell's Mission to Lhasa 1920-21

Photo also owned by

Royal Central Asiatic Society

Revised Photographer

Rabden Lepcha?

Previous Catologue Number


Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


This Image also appears in another collection


Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry: "[No. of chapter] XXVI. [Subject of Chapter] Ceremonial and Etiquette. [Subject of Illustration] H.131 (j) Procession of monks, the long black line, through Par-go ka-ling at Ser-treng (Diary II, 87)"

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: This is a copy of 1998.285.81 [MS 2/6/2004]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: The Sertreng procession took place on 8th April in 1921. This photograph depicts the procession of monks around the Potala and the large Buddha textiles on the front of the Palace, which were key features of this religious ceremony [MS 22/9/2004]

Other Information - Description: Bell's diary entry for 8th April 1921: "We leave our house in De-kyi Ling-ka at 7.30am, to see the ceremony known as 'The Golden Rosary' (Ser-treng). The name is taken from the procession of monks in single file carrying banners of Victory (Gyal-tshen) and other emblems as offerings to the 5th D[alai] L[ama]. ... We are taken to a flat-topped tent open, in front, and erected on the roof of a house below the Potala. On the wall of the Potala are two gigantic pictures, worked in silk embroidery (applique work); the larger of the two is to the right about 80ft high by 90ft broad, a picture of "King Love" (Gye-wa Champa). This is perhaps the largest picture in the world. The picture to the left is 80 feet high by 70 feet broad and is of Gotama Buddha. Both pictures are several hundred years old; the Tsendron says that they date from the time of the 5th D[alai] L[ama]. In the topmost storey of the [?] Palace (Potrang Mar-po) the yellow silk curtains indicate the room from which the D[alai] L[ama], if he comes will watch the ceremony. Below us is a large open space, 50 yards square, on the roof of a house; on the left side of it is the usual tent for the Councillors, Dukes, Dzasas and Techis and in front of this tent, just below us, the performances take place. // Soon a procession of monks in single file is seen from the direction of the Tsuk Lakang winding along slowly in single file. Each carries on a long pole a Banner of Victory. They are monks from Sera, Drepung, Ganden and other monasteries in the area of Lhasa." [Diary Vol IX, pp.86-7]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Sertreng procession in front of Potala" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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