Nomad sewing up bags of salt

Nomad sewing up bags of salt

BMR. (Album Print black & white)

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Other Version of this Photo in Frederick Spencer Chapman collection

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Image in Album

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Hugh E. Richardson

Date of Photo

January 7th 1937


Lhasa Area

Accession number


Nomad sewing up a bag of salt to be carried on the back of a pack animal. Wearing a sheepskin chuba or coat. Many woollen textile bags of goods can be seen loaded up in the background to the left. A yak's wool tent can also be seen on the right

Further Information



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

BJ.35 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 - 'BJ 35' has been written on the back of the print in pencil. This relates to the numbering system for images that Chapman used on the British Mission to Lhasa in 1936-37 [MS 10/2/2005]

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]: 'Kamba sewing up salt bag'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 4: ‘6/1 - Nomad serving [sewing] up bag of Tsamba (or salt?) go on sheeps back [ sic ]’ [MS 16/03/2006]

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - Chapman used this image in the official Mission Diary for the 1936-37 Mission to Lhasa led by Sir Basil Gould to illustrate the entry for January 7th 1937. On this day Chapman rose early to go to the outskirts of Lhasa to photograph some of the nomad camps, which had come to Lhasa to pay taxes and participte in the New Year festivities. The text accompanying this image reads: "These nomads came down from the Chang Tang, the vast arid semi-desert away to the North of Lhasa. The journey took them fifty days. Hundreds of yaks carried wool, while each sheep was loaded with a bag of salt on each side of its back. This salt is deposited on the shores of the brackish lakes by the evaporation of the water. As barley cannot grow up there they exchange their wool and salt for tsamba (roasted barley meal) and other wares."

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: 1998.131.244.1/2 - 1998.131.249 all appear to have been taken with the same group of people on the same occasion [MS 10/2/2005]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'BJ' comprise a group of negatives containing images of the Lhasa band, chang girls, Tibetan officials including Tsarong and Ringang, Finch, Norbhu, Everest Permit and Khampa people. They all seem to have been taken in the early part of January 1937. Chapman seems to have ventured beyond Lhasa to take photographs of nomad groups in the valley on January 7th 1937 [MS 16/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Nomad sewing up bags of salt" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <>.

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