16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje

16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje

2001. (Film negative)

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Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo

1946 or 1950

Named Person

16th Karmapa


Tolung Valley Region > Tsurphu

Accession number


Image Dimensions

55 X 43 mm

The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981) wearing the black crown (shwa nag) of the Kagyud order of Buddhism seated on chair in a room in his summer palace at Tsurphu. He is looking towards the right and smiling. There is a camera tripod on the left a display of clocks behind him. The wall behind him is composed of decorated panels and there are religious images behind glass panes.

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


‘Mk’yen Brtse’s guide to the Holy Places of Central Tibet’, Alfonsa Ferrari, Rome: ISMEO, Serie Orinetale Roma XVI, 1958 [view list of illustrations]

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 29. 'Gyalwa Karmapa' [gyal ba kar ma pa].

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Hugh Richardson, "Memories of Tshurphu", in High Peaks, Pure Earth , 1998, London. Serindia, pp: 730-733. Richardson describes how he met the Karmapa as follows, "... I was received by the Rinpoche himself in his bright, gleaming room looking out on a little flower garden in which stalked a fine peacock. His room was full of clocks of all kinds and was hung withcages of the birds he loved - budgerigars and canaries. // The Rinpoche was then about twenty-three years old, a large, calm young man with a ready smile and a sense of humour." ( ibid . 730)

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).

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]

Other Information - Biographical Information - The 16th Gyelwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981) born in Denkhok in Derge region of Eastern Tibet to a family called Athup. The Karmapa is recognised as the lead of Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was recognised as the incarnation of the 15th Karmapa by the 13th Dalai Lama who received his first religious vow. The Karmapa fled Tibet in 1959 and founded Rumtek monastery in Sikkim. He died in Chicago, USA in 1981.[TS 9/3/2005]

Other Information - Related image: See 2001.2.29.1 for another image of the Karmapa taken a few minutes after this one (according to the time on the clocks behind him). [KC 22/3/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_2001.>.

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