Altar in Shide Monastery

Altar in Shide Monastery

1998.286.249 (Glass negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Sir Charles Bell or Rabden Lepcha?


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

July 26th 1921?


Lhasa > Shide Drokhang

Accession number


Image Dimensions

78 x 103 mm

Altar in Assembly Hall of Shide Monastery, Lhasa. To left, Abbot's seat with Abbot's costume arranged on it.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative Quarter Plate

Date Acquired

Donated 1983

Donated by

St Antony's College, Oxford


Sir Charles Bell's Mission to Lhasa 1920-21

Previous Catologue Number


Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Related Collections

British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry: "[No. of chapter] L. [Subject of Chapter] Lhasa [Subject of Illustration] Q238 (aw) Altar in Assembly Hall of Shide Monastery, Lhasa. To left, Abbot's seat with Abbot's dress arranged on it."

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - Published in 'The Religion of Tibet', Bell, C. A., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1931, facing p.170:"Altar in Assembly Hall, Shi-de Monastery Lhasa. To left, the Abbot's seat with his dress arranged on it."

Other Information - Description: Bell's Diary entry for July 26th 1921: "[After visiting Sho courtroom] I paid a surprise visit to Shi-de Monastery. A service to Drol-ma is in progress, a service of praise and prayer, in which about 60 monks are taking part. We stand just outside the door and watch it. At the further end, near the main altar sits the Abbot, enthroned in his high seat. There is one Abbot only at a time; he holds office for 4 or 5 years. There are some ex-Abbots also in the Monastery. // A boy, aged about twelve years, kneels at the end of the row, nearest us in the door-way, with his back towards us. With head bowed down almost to the ground he recites passages from one of the sacred books in a low voice. He is passing an examination, for which he has studied for three years or so. When he returns to his seat, the service is resumed. There is much posturing of the hands and fingers in different ways, which I am told by the priest, who conducts us, represents the fashions [Tibetan script] after which the gods (lha) hold their hands and fingers. All seem to know what to do, and do the various actions in unison" [Diary Vol XI pp. 59-60]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Altar in Shide Monastery" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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