Prisoners in Potala Sho prison

Prisoners in Potala Sho prison

1998.286.305 (Glass negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Sir Charles Bell or Rabden Lepcha?


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo



Lhasa > Sho > Lekung

Accession number


Image Dimensions

78 x 103

Five prisoners in stocks in Potala Shö prison

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative Quarter Plate

Date Acquired

Donated 1983

Donated by

St Antony's College, Oxford

Copy difference

Intensifier Notches on right side


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] XII. [Subject of Chapter] Crime and Punishment. [Subject of Illustration] Q46. (h) Convicts in stocks in Potala Shö Prison. [Remarks] See (d) [Q.44] L.66"

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: Bell's Diary entry for 26th July 1921: "I visited the Sho Le-Kung today (photo quarter plate). The courtroom resembled in the main that of the Mi-pon. ... Down below in another place close to, is a verandah in which those accused of the more heinous offences are tried. Here are kept the whips and finger-crushing implements of the same kind as those used by the Mi-pons. Nearby is the prison with two separate rooms, both of which one sees from above. One, for those convicted of lighter offences, was photoed by me some months ago. It gets plenty of light and air from above. The other for heinous offenders, is dark, but gets much more light and air than the prison administered by the Mi-pons. Looking down through the grating of the Sho prison for heinous offenders, I could see though dimly, the prisoners inside" [Vol XI, pp. 58-59]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: According to Bell's diary of July 26th 1921, he visited and photographed a prison used to house those convicted of relatively less serious offences 'some months ago', which suggests that this image may have been taken prior to July 1921 [MS 06/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Prisoners in Potala Sho prison" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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