Karma-shar lingka during the festival of 'The Incense of the whole world'

Karma-shar lingka during the festival of 'The Incense of the whole world'

1998.285.647 (Lantern Slide)

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Key Information


Lt Col R. S. Kennedy?


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

June 20th 1921

Named Person

Karmashar Oracle


Lhasa > Karmashar Lingka

Accession number


Image Dimensions

81 x 81 mm

Karmashar Lingka during the festival of 'The Incense of the Whole World'. Large plain with crowds of people and tents against a mountain background; many umbrellas seen in foreground. The tent of the Karmashar Oracle can be seen in the back left of the image, surrounded by a large crowd of people

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

Lt Col R. S. Kennedy?

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] XIX. [Subject of Chapter] The Traders. [Subject of Illustration] P.153 (o) Karma-shar lingka during the festival of 'The Incense of the whole world'. Picnickers come here and to the Phala lingka near by to buy sweets, cakes, beer etc. for their parties. See cake-stall in foreground under umbrella. [Remarks] L.89"

Other Information - Photographer: The negative from which this lantern slide has been made (a Postcard-sized negative) is not in the PRM collection. Bell did not use P-sized or 'Postcard' sized negatives of the kind with which this image is made for his images of Lhasa in 1920-21. However, Lt Col Robert Kennedy, who was with Bell in 1920-21, did so, as did W. P. Rosemeyer, who visited Lhasa many times from 1922 onwards as a telegraph officer involved with establishing the telegraph line to Lhasa. This is a copy of a print, not an original image, and the print may well have been acquired by Bell from one of these sources [MS 25/02/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: Bell's Diary entry for 20th June 1921" "Today, being the 15th of the 5th tibetan month, is the festival of Dzam-ling Chi-sang, "The Incense of the Whole World." It is a day of festival for all the gods (lha), so the Tsendron tells me. The Tsendron, Palhese and I ride out in the forenoon to see it, going first to the lingka of the Karmashar Oracle. ... Everybody today should offer incense and may spend the rest of the day in the lingkas near the river, enjoying themselves in the picnics so dear to the heart of the people of Lhasa, whether Tibetans, Chinese or Muhammadens from Ladakh. More go to the lingkas today than on any other day in the year, and all are in their best clothes. We ride through three or four lingkas and I take some photos (3A). The private lingkas are much fuller than those belonging to Government, because in the latter fires are not allowed to be lighted on the ground, and this restriction is inconvenient when a party came out for the day. The tea then has to be kept warm by charcoal etc. burning in a brazier, on which the teapot is kept" [Diary XI. p.11]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: On 25th May 1921 Bell discussed popular forms of Tibetan entertainment with Kusho Palhese and this prompted the following Diary entry in relation to picnic parties:"Apart from these games [ horse racing, archery, putting the weight, long-jumping ] picnicking is a very favourite way of spending the day in summer. Between May and September the lingkas are full of picnic parties. Whether government owned or private owned any may come and bring their lunch and tea and spend the day there. Those who are more particular pitch a tent or the roof of a tent, white with blue designs after the Tibetan fashion. Others just sit down under the poplars or willows, and hang a cloth on one side to keep off the breeze. Sho and Ba (Chinese dominoes) will be played, singing and perhaps dancing especially towards evening, and the stories of older days will be recounted by those who know them. Beer and tea there will be in plenty, and food mostly after the Chinese style." [Diary Vol. X., p.82]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Karma-shar lingka during the festival of 'The Incense of the whole world'" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.285.647.html>.

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