Rope for tethering horses at Dzonggyap Shambe

Rope for tethering horses at Dzonggyap Shambe

2001. (Film negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

March 6th 1948?


Lhasa > Meadow north of Potala

Accession number


Image Dimensions

58 x 55 mm

A horseman riding past a target suspended from a wooden frame at Dzonggyap Shambe. There is a crowd of spectators in the background and a rope stretched between two posts used for tethering horses in the foreground.

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 98. [blank]. [KC 17/7/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Richardson's Hand List: 'Negative album No.1. ... The Rdzong-rgyab Zhabs-'bel This ceremony takes place on the 26th day of the 1st month (The Byams-pa gdan 'dren on 25th is in another neagative file). The Rdzong-rgyab Zhabs-'bel, "The Gallop at the back of the Fort" takes place on a sandy plain to the north of the Potala, near the Lha-klu house. It is the exercise for the rta-dmag , feudal cavalry. Nos. 78-90. The horsemen ride down a sandy track and fire at three targets set up at intervals along it; they use a musket at one target and bow and arrows at the others. At the end, the horsemen come in their different sections to salute the Kashag and receive a scarf and some money.' [KC 23/10/2006]

Other Information - Background: See Hugh E. Richardson, Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year , 1993. London: Serindia Publications. pp. 56-7. "The name of this ceremony, the Dzongggyap Shambe, is uncertain. The common version of the spelling is rDzong-rgyab Zhabs-'bel , 'The Gallop Behind the Fort"; but there is another, rDzong-rgyab g Zhar-'phen, apparently meaning "The shooting in Succession Behind the Fort". At all events what happens is a competition between men of the Yaso's cavalry in a display of markmanship at targets suspended beside a narrow runway in a meadow north of the Potala and south of the Lhalu mansion. Tents are pitched there for the Kashag and high officials and for foreign guests; lesser officials sit on rugs on the ground in order of precedence; places are allotted to boys of the Tse school, servants of government offices and the Dalai Lama's dancing boys; and a tent is set up for the cooks who provide the refreshments, in recognition perhaps that this has been an unusually busy month for them. After the arrival of the Kashag there are the usual formalities. The Yaso present scarves to the Kashag and submit lists of the competitors; and, of course, tea is served. Each squadron provided by the noble houses then takes part separately. One after the other the horsemen ride down the runway firing with a matchlock with antelope-horn prongs at the first target, then rapidly swinging the gun round their backs they grab the bow and take an arrow from their quiver ready for the next target. Some do not have time to draw the bow but simply thrust the arrow at the target. When all the men of the right wing have finished the course there is a pause. The Dalai Lama's dancing boys collect the arrows and bring a list of hits to the Labrang Chandzo - the Treasurers of the Jokhang. The competitors then come up by squadrons and rceive scarves of different quality according to their score. Then they perform a special Mongolian salute, raising their right hand, then bending their right knee and touching the ground with their hand. They return to their horses which have been left at some distance, with cries of Lhagyallo , "Victory to the gods!" (pp. 56-7) [KC 23/10/2006]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: The year '1948?' has been written on the back of the print. Also the print size and print out paper makes it part of a group of images that all seem to have been taken from 1946 onwards as the contain images of the new Nechung Oracle who assumed his position in 1948 and inscription pillars that Richardson visited only during this time [MS 16/12/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Rope for tethering horses at Dzonggyap Shambe" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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