Monk escort of Nechung Oracle leaving Jokhang

Monk escort of Nechung Oracle leaving Jokhang

2001. (Film negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

March 6th 1937


Lhasa > Jokhang (main entrance from Doring house)

Accession number


Image Dimensions

54 x 43 mm

The Nechung Oracles's khor procession leaving the Jokhang at the time of the Monlam Torgya. These novice monks act as a retinue to escort the Nechung oracle away from the temple. There are different sections to the retinue. Here it is possible to see monks dressed in the ritual costume of black hat (zhva nag) dancers in front of those dressed in ancient armour and carrying lances. Monks and officials can be seen lining the inner courtyard of the Jokhang as well as watching the procession from the upstairs window.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

Date Acquired

Donated August 2001

Donated by

The executors of the estate of Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh E. Richardson

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Notes on negative album - '1' 'Chipsha: Dzonggyab [rdzong rgyab]: Torgyap [gtor rgyag] ----- [illegible]' is written in white in Richardson's hand. Notes inside negative album: white label with Richardson's name and address in St. Andrews. [KC 8/7/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Notes on negative index - Folio 60. 'GNAS-CHUNG'S 'KHOR'. [KC 17/7/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Richardson's Hand List: Negative album No.1 nos. 59-63 'The 'Khor of the Gnas-chung Chos-skyong (a procession of his attendants). [KC 24/7/2006]

Technical Information - This image seems to have been taken with a Zeiss Super Ikonta C camera. This was a 6x9 format camera but came with a film plane mask that enabled 6x4.5 images to be taken. This enabled 16 images to be taken on a roll of 120 film as opposed to 8 without the mask [MS 6/10/2005]

Other Information - Background: See Hugh E. Richardson, Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year , 1993, London: Serindia Publications, pp 39-49 for a description of the Monlam Torgya ( mon lam gtor rgyag) ceremony. "The ceremony of Monlam Torgya is the longest and the most spectacular event of the New Year celebrations. It is the high point of the Yaso's tenure of office and the day for which the Tsisher was the preparation. (p. 39) ... "Then there emerges from the Jokhang a long procession of the Nechung Oracle's khor, a sort of phantom bodyguard, about sixty of them in all. First a line of small boys wearing demon masks, then other men in armour with tall helmets, then some in monk's dress wearing large round red hats with a little crown, the a party of black hat magicians, and finally a group in skull masks preceding a number of the Nechung monks in yellow hats carrying the Oracle's trident-headed standards." (p. 47) [KC 24/7/2006]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: In a letter to his parents dated November 6th 1936, Hugh Richardson commented that he was investigating buying a new Zeiss Super Ikonta camera [Hugh Richardson Manuscript Archive, Bodleian Library, MS. Or. Richardson 3 folio 46]. On March 29th 1937 he comments in a further letter to his parents that it would probaby be better to use the larger image frame [MS Or Richardson 3 folio 82]. This has assisted the dating of this image to 1937 [MS 6/10/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Monk escort of Nechung Oracle leaving Jokhang " 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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