Performers at Gyantse Fort

Performers at Gyantse Fort

BMH.C.87.1 (Film negative)

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Raw Image

Key Information


Arthur Hopkinson


A. J. Hopkinson

Date of Photo

1927 - 1928. June - July 1927?


Gyantse > Fort

Accession number


Image Dimensions

85 x 110

A close-up of the group of dancers/actors who performed at Gyantse Fort. In this image their costumes, including head-gear and masks can be seen very clearly.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate


A. J. Hopkinson's Tour of Duty as British Trade Agent, Gyantse, 1927-28

Other Information

In Negative - 'C-87' has been written on the left edge of the negative in blue ink. The left edge has been cut very crudely [MS 13/07/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - [Caption in A. J. Hopkinson's negative album 'Tibet C']: 'ACHE LHAMOS' [MS 28/04/2006]

Other Information - Description: [Extract from taped interview, Richard Blurton and Mrs Hopkinson] 'The players were hereditary, I think they were almost a caste, because they transmitted it by word of mouth. They performed traditional legends and dances; some of it was chanted, some of it was a sort of performance that seemed to be an actual ceremony of some kind. and then one of them would take it up and chant a whole length, and then there would be a poor song, with comic interludes. I think they must have been gathering up for the arrow shoot. I think it must mean something like speakers of the gods, it'll have that implication, they're the old legends of PadmaSambovar etc. I think it may say in my husband's letters that they chanted in an archaic dialect. The head-dresses may have originated in Indian tantric tradition' [MS 13/07/2006]

Other Information - Dates

Other Information - Dates: It is not certain when exactly this photograph was taken as Hopkinson makes no mention of these dancers in his journals. However, he does mention seeing some Ache Lhamo performances elsewhere in July 1927 and it was sometimes the case that British officers made invitations to such performers, especially small wandering troupes, to visit their residences in order to photograph them [see notes on Bell Collection]. However, these kind of performers would also be a relatively common sight as they toured the countryside to put on their plays. In the notes for BMH.C.87.1 however, Mrs Hopkinson suggests that they may have been in Gyantse in readiness for the annual Gun and Arrow Shooting competition, which took place on June 21st in 1927 [MS 13/07/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Performers at Gyantse Fort" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <>.

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