Street in Lhasa during Palden Lhamo ceremony

Street in Lhasa during Palden Lhamo ceremony

BMR. (Album Print black & white)

Image for comparison


Photographer's handlist

[view record]


Other Version of this Photo in Frederick Spencer Chapman collection

[view record]


Image in Album

[view record]

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Hugh E. Richardson

Date of Photo

November 28th 1936


Lhasa > Barkhor (from Surkhang House)

Accession number


Side street in Lhasa taken from Surkhang Se's house on the occasion of the Palden Lhamo procession. In the foreground a pile of mustard straw surrounding a torma offering of butter and barley flour can be seen in the middle of the street, ready to be burnt.

Further Information


Ritual Activity

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Donated to the British Museum in 1986 by Hugh E. Richardson

Previous Catologue Number

C.17.5 In publication
'Lhasa Mission 1936, Diary of Events', P. Neame, H. Richardson, F. S. Chapman, Government of India Political Department [Note: photographs for October 18th - November 4th 1936 are not included as their relationship to text is not detailed; see Mission Diary text for details of images] [see photos in publication]

Related Collections

F. S. Chapman Collection in the Pitt Rivers Museum

This Image also appears in another collection


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - 'Lhasa City' has been written beneath the image in the album in pencil, apparently not by Hugh Richardson [MS 12/06/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Caption in Chapman's hand-written list of negatives made whilst on the Mission to Lhasa, 1936-7 [See PRM Manuscripts Collection]: 'Looking up side street. Pile of straw ready'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 1, From Gangtok to the Natu La August 1936: ‘38/1 - Lhasa side street waiting for procession to pass. Notice pile of mustard straw ready as fire and white incense burner on left foreground. View from roof of Surkang Se house [MS 03/04/2006]

Research publication - Clare Harris and Tsering Shakya (eds.), 'Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947', Chicago: Serindia Publications, 2003, p. 18.

Exhibition - This image appeared in the 2003 Temporary Exhibition at the Pitt Rivers "Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947" [MS 12/06/2006]

Other Information - Album: This image appears alongside two others on page 19 of Hugh Richardson's album 'Lhasa 1936' [MS 12/06/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.20' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Palden Lhamo procession down street, Kalon lama and Pendong and Regent’s house and monastery. This group of images had been given the heading “‘Queen Vic’ Procession” by Chapman in his handlist. Queen Victoria was reputed to have been an incarnation of Palden Lhamo [see notes for C.17.7 in handlist] [MS 03/04/2006]

Other Information - Description: Entry in Mission Diary for November 28th 1936: "There was a great procession in the city today. An enormous image of the goddess Palden Lhamo was taken from the Cathedral and carried through the streets. This is the goddess of whom Queen Victoria was supposed to be an incarnation. Lamas, many of them grotesquely masked, first cleared a way through the densely crowded streets. When the goddess appeared long trumpets were blown, drums were beaten, and a great pyramid of straw was burnt in the street, while lamas danced and chanted. This goddess, when the world was young, was about to destroy all creation; but in the nick of time a husband was found for her and he, apparently, appeased her wrath. On the day that she is taken round Lhasa her husband, who is kept in a monastery on the other side of the Kyi Chu, is also taken out and they are allowed to behold each other annually, at a distance of several miles" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part X p. 1, written by Chapman] [MS 03/04/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Street in Lhasa during Palden Lhamo ceremony" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <>.

For more information about photographic usage or to order prints, please visit the The British Museum.

© The British Museum