Tibetan woman with goitre

Tibetan woman with goitre

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

September 3rd 1936


Lhasa Area >

Accession number


Tibetan beggar woman with goitre sticking her tongue out in a sign of welcome.

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

CS.19 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 - Crop and other reproduction instructions have been written on the back of the print in pencil, including to reduce the image to 3" across after cropping. There are also a variety of reference numbers such as 'C-S-19', which relates to the numbering system Chapman adopted for images taken on the British Mission to Lhasa in 1936-37. Other reference numbers include '33C' in the top left hand corner and possibly a publishers reference number, 'C 43434/14' down the right hand side. A piece of tracing paper has been stuck to the back of the print and folded over the front. This would have been used for transferring cropping information from back to front and vice versa, however, it has not been used in this case [MS 2/4/2005]

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]: 'Close-up of super-goiterous old woman'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 4: ‘15/3 - Goitrous woman putting out tongue as mark of respect’ [MS 18/03/2006]

Contemporary Publication -

Contemporary Publication - This photograph was used to illustrate the official Mission Diary for October 7th 1936. [MS 18/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'CS' comprise a group of negatives containing images of patients at Dr Morgan’s Mission hospital, Mir Khan [Mission cook], curio sellers, bookshops, street scenes, the Jokhang, willow trees and Chapman. They all seem to have been taken on September 3rd 1936 [MS 18/03/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: On September 3rd 1936 the Mission visited the Jokhang temple and Brigadier Neame comments in the Mission diary for this day that: "This trip to the city afforded an opportunity of photographing some typical street scenes, beggars etc. It is curious that although no one minds cameras being produced and photos being taken, the women are very bashful of any individual close-up shots!" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', part V p.2 , written by Philip Neame]. Interestingly, the images chosen to illustrate this day in the diary were those taken by Neame, not Chapman [MS 18/03/2006]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Sticking the tongue out as a greeting began when Buddhists wanted people to know that they were not Bon-po (pre-Buddhist religion) as they were supposed to have black tongues, so pink tongues were stuck out as proof of being Buddhist. The further the tongue was stuck out, the greater the respect. A Tibetan was severely reprimanded during the Younghusband Expedition to Tibet for doing this. [Marina de Alarcón ZF 1995.1]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Tibetan woman with goitre" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_BMR.>.

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