Courtyard of Tsurphu monastery and pillar ( doring )

Courtyard of Tsurphu monastery and pillar (doring)

2001. (Film negative)

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Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

1946 or 1950


Tolung Valley Region > Tsurphu

Accession number


Image Dimensions

55 X 43 mm

Inscription pillar (doring) in the courtyard of Tsurphu (mtshur phu) monastery to the west of Lhasa. The base is three-stepped pillar and the finial has an engraved rounded shape on the top. The courtyard is stone paved and there are monastic buildings in the background. There is a group of monks leaning against the low wall of a building on the left. There are two light flashes at the top of the image.

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 front of negative album in Richardson's hand in white: '2' 'Ramagang, 'Ushang, Tshurphu rgyal, Misc pillars'. On the reverse of negative album written in blue ink on white labels in Richardson's hand: 'Hu zhang, Pa blon chen, Pha bong ka, Nyenchen thang lho, Rva sgreng, Khro 'brug, etc. etc.' [KC 10/3/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Notes on negative index - Folio 23. 'do' [TSHURPHU PILLAR].

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Hugh Richardson, "Memories of Tshurphu", in High Peaks, Pure Earth , 1998, London. Serindia, pp: 730-733.

Other Information - Location: Tsurphu lies about forty miles to the west of Lhasa on the Drowo lungchu river. "
Mtshur-phu (1946-50) [is] the principal seat of the Karma Bka'-brgyud school and residence of the Zhwa-nag ("Black Hat") incarnation. [It was founded] in 1187 ... Its many buildings are closely grouped in a high enclosed wall overlooking the "Gro-bo-lung-chu. The entrance on the west side is by way of a courtyard in which stands an inscribed pillar dating from the ninth century which has no obvious connection with the monastery." ( High Peaks, Pure Earth, H. E. Richardson, London, Serindia Publications, 1998, p. . 312) After passing through a narrow gate in the high wall surrounding the monastery one came to a wide paved courtyard with buildings on three sides, the west side being open. In the centre stood a stone pillar dating from the reign of Ralpachen and describing the foundation of a temple at Changbu in Tolung ... I was told later that the pillar was formerly opposite the main assembly hall, farther inside the monastery. ( ibid. 731) [KC 22/3/2006]

Other Information - History: Richardson discusses the pillar at Mtshur-phu in
A Corpus of Early Tibetan Inscriptions, H. E. Richardson, Hertford: Royal Asiatic Society (James G. Forlong Series No. XXIX), 1985, pp. 92-105

Other Information - Tsurphu (mtshur phu) is situated in Tolung (stod lung). The monastery is the seat of the Karmapa, head of the Karma Kargyu (kar ma bka' rgyud) school of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery was founded by Karmapa Dusum Kyenpa (1100-1193). Richardson visited Tsurphu twice first in 1946 and a second time just before leaving Lhasa in 1950. [TS 16/2/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Courtyard of Tsurphu monastery and pillar ( doring )" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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