Street procession of Victory Banners during Torgya festival

Street procession of Victory Banners during Torgya festival

2001. (Film negative)

Image for comparison


Raw Image

Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

March 6th 1937


Lhasa > Jokhang (south west corner from Doring house)

Accession number


Image Dimensions

54 x 43 mm

A double line of laymen carrying gyaltsen (rgyal tshen) Victory Banners along the Barkhor, close to the south west corner of the Jokhang during Monlam Torgya. They preceded the Torma in its journey from the Jokhang to the place where it was destroyed. The Victory Banners represent the victory if Buddhism over Hinduism. The streets are lined with crowds of spectators. A tripod with a camera covered by a piece of cloth can be seen on the right positioned on the balcony of the Doring house from where this photograph was taken.

Further Information


Ritual Activity , Worshipping

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 70. [BANNER CARRIERS]. [KC 17/7/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Richardson's Hand List: Negative album No.1 no 64. 'The Gnas-chung oracle appears from the Jo-khang where he has a special room. He is in a trance and dances in front of the Jo-khang and the Dalai Lama's room and then rushes after the Gtor-ma. (The Gtor-ma is carried to the outskirts of the city, followd by the troops, a body of monks, and the Gnas chung oracle. It is burnt there, and the troops fire two ancient cannon of Tibetan make, with leather barrels, at a target on a hill on the other side of the river. I have no photographs of that part of the ceremony). [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) ... The horns sound a long blast, the drums beat and the cymbal players turn toward the Jokhang entrance clashing their cymbals. A double line of laymen carrying tall cylindrical banners come out and after them the torma, in which all evil influences are stored, is brought out by a body of well-dressed laymen. ..." (p.45) [KC 23/10/2006]

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]

Other Information - Symbols: Gyaltsen are one of eight auspicious symbols ( bkris shis rtags brgyad ) representing the victory of Buddhism over Hinduism. [TS 8/2/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Street procession of Victory Banners during Torgya festival" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

For more information about photographic usage or to order prints, please visit the The Pitt Rivers Museum.

© The Pitt Rivers Museum