Image of Pabo Lochen near the temple of Nyethang

Image of Pabo Lochen near the temple of Nyethang

2001. (Film negative)

Image for comparison


Raw Image

Key Information


Hugh E. Richardson


Hugh Richardson

Date of Photo



Lhasa Area > Nyethang

Accession number


Image Dimensions

43 X 54 mm

An image of Pabo Lochen (dpa' bo blon chen), a great monk minister of state who lived in the 9th century A.D., near Nyethang Drolma Lhakhang (sNye thang sgrol ma lha khang). The image has a black mask and the ceremonial brocade clothes of an oracle priest. It has a mirror on its chest and a white scarf (khatags) around the shoulders. The figures of two small boys wrapped in white scarves may be seen kneeling on either side of its feet. The edge of a hand held drum is on the far left 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 68. 'dPa bo Blon chen Ne tang' [sic].

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Richardson Hand List. 'Album No. 2 [no.] 49. The Dpa'- bo Blon-chen at sNye-thang said to be the remains of a 9th century monk-minister.'

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - [Hugh Richardson in conversation with Paddy Booz; see PRM Related Documents File] 'The (Tho) Dpa Ba Blon Chen at sNye Thang. Alleged to be the upper half of the body of the monk-minister Bran ka dpal gyi yon tan, of Ralpachen's time; c. 4.5 feet high. sNye Thang near Lhasa.'

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: Although Richardson first went to Nyethang in 1936, the date of 1950 for this image is derived from Richardson’s negative album No.4, the cover of which is marked with ‘Lhobrag 1950’. There are 16 images which share the same batch development number and seem to relate to a trip that Richardson took in this year. His preference for using 6x4.5 images, the smallest exposure size possible using his Zeiss Super Ikonta camera, seems to have returned only towards the end of his time in Tibet, possibly to maximise the number of images that he could take on each roll of film (16 using a film plane mask of this size or 8 at 6x9 cm) and this also suggests that the image wa taken at the end rather than the beginning of his residence in Tibet [MS 17/12/2005]

Other Information - History: Richardson recounts the history of this image of Bran-ka Dpal-gyi yon-tan, known locally as Pabo Lochen (Dpa' bo Blon-chen) in High Peaks, Pure Earth , London, Serindia Publications, 1998, p.314. "Not far away, [from Nyethang Drolma Lhakhang (sNye-thang sGrol-ma Lha-khang)] in a small stone building, is a strange figure about four feet tall with a large, grinning, black mask; it wears the dress of an oracle priest - a red brocade hat with eyes embroidered on it, and a robe of fine brocade with a mystic mirror ( me-long ) on its chest. The figures of two boys kneel beside the figure, and on its right side is a large drum. Underneath the robe is the stuffed skin of a human torso supported on a wooden trestle. All the figures are decorated in fresh white scarves which, together with the good condition of the robes, suggests regular devotion is paid. The tradition is that the figure, Dpa'-bo Blon-chen, is the upper part of the body of the great monk minister Bran-ka Dpal-yon, who was murdered by Glang-dar ma; it was sawn in half and thrown into the Skyid-chu. Half was washed up at Snye-thang and was recovered by two boys; the other half was swept down to Rtse-thang, but its fate is unrecorded. The figure at Snye-thang is revered as a yul-lha, a protective deity of the locality ". [TS 22/3/2005]

Other Information - Biography: Detailed information on Dran-ka Dpal yon, also known as Dpa'-bo Gtsug-lag, can be found in the Tibetan source, Dpa'-bo Gtsug-lag 'phreng-ba,
Mkhas-pa'i dga'-ston , vol Ja, fo.134. 134b. [TS 22/3/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Image of Pabo Lochen near the temple of Nyethang" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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