Embroidered Sertreng banners on the Potala Palace

Embroidered Sertreng banners on the Potala Palace

1998.285.190.2 (Lantern Slide)

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Raw Image


(Glass negative)

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Key Information


Rabden Lepcha?


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

April 8th 1921


Lhasa > Potala (from south)

Accession number


Image Dimensions

81 x 81 mm

Huge embroidered banners hanging from the walls of the Potala during Sertreng Ceremony.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Lantern Slide

Date Acquired

Donated 1983

Donated by

St Antony's College, Oxford.


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


Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry: "[No. of chapter] XXX. [Subject of Chapter] Arts and Crafts. [Subject of Illustration] H.167 (q) Gigantic pictures as in (m) [1998.285.188/H.165], nearer view. [Remarks] L.158"

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: These embroidered banners of the Buddha were lowered over the Potala during the Sertreng Festival, which in 1921 took place on April 8th. [MS 23/9/2004]

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. "Embroidered Sertreng banners on the Potala Palace" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.285.190.2.html>.

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