Lukhang behind the Potala

Lukhang behind the Potala

1998.286.252 (Glass negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Sir Charles Bell or Rabden Lepcha?


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

September 22nd 1921?


Lhasa > Lukhang

Accession number


Image Dimensions

78 x 103 mm

Grounds of the Serpent Temple, Lukhang, behind the Potala, with poplar trees reflected in the pond.

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


'The People of Tibet', Sir Charles Bell, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928 [view list of illustrations]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry: "[No. of chapter] L. [Subject of Chapter] Lhasa [Subject of Illustration] Q241 (ax) Grounds of the Serpent Temple (Luknag) behind the Potala, with poplar trees reflected in the pond."

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - Published in 'The People of Tibet', Bell, C. A., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928, facing p.130:"Grounds of the serpent temple. Regarded by the Chinese as one of the five beauties of Lhasa." [MS 10/9/2004]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Bell's Diary entry for 9th June:"There are two kinds of poplar trees in Lhasa; one like the kind at Gyantse; the other different to any poplar in Gyantse, the Chumbi Valley or Sikkim. The wood of the second kind somewhat resembles that of the poplar in Sikkim and the Chumbi Valley but the leaves are smaller and shaped more like the leaves of a maple. This kind is called "White Poplar" ( ja - kar ) [Tibetan script] in Lhasa. // It is used for house pillars, though soft, because it is easily carved with the designs appropriate to such pillars. Neto Jongpen thinks it is indigenous to Tibet, for he says the wood is rather poor and it would not have been worthwhile to introduce it from China or elsewhere. I do not remember to have seen it anywhere in India." [Diary Vol. XI., p.1]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: Bell comments in his Diary for September 22nd 1921 that on this day he visited the Lu Temple [ Lukhang ] behind Potala with Tsendron and wrote an extensive description. He also comments that only on the 15th day of the 4th Tibetan month is the temple opened to the public - to visit at any other time requires the special permission of the Dalai Lama [Diary Vol. XIII, pp. 1-5] [MS 06/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Lukhang behind the Potala" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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