1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.

October 6th, Tuesday.

see photographs below

The Regent, accompanied by two Shapes one Depon, a Chief Secretary and many minor officials left this morning for Samye monastery.

Norbhu and Richardson with a large retinue (in order to compete with the pretentious Chinese who were expected to be present) rode out to a Park on the river bank some four miles from the city to offer the customary scarves of leave taking. Chapman and Nepean came also to take photographs.

The streets were crowded with people taking this rare opportunity of seeing the regent, Monks, holding coloured hangings and banners on long staffs, lined the route and officials were busily driving cattle and stragglers from the way. A guard of honour was waiting three miles from the city.

The Regent rods in a sedan chair of dark gold lacquer carried by bearers in green with red hats; beside him walked official's and a servant carrying the yellow state umbrella. Mounted outriders in tall conical hats with plumes, rode in front; the foremost carrying a sacred picture to ward ell evil, the others with banners on lances.

Those officers who were accompanying the Regent rode in his procession and many monk and lay officials and servants made up his retinue.

All other officials of Lhasa were waiting to receive him at the park. Today they wore a ceremonial dress reserved for auspicious occasions. Those of the highest rank wore yellow brocade robes embroidered with dragons of blue and gold; minor officials wore less resplendent brocade tunics and skirts of black silk; they had, perched on their heads, curious little white hats like cockle shells. The park was bright with all this finery and with the many shades of red and claret and the gilded hats worn by monk officials and incarnation lamas who were sitting on the grass or walking about until the arrival of the Regent. On his arrival he walked from his chair, through ranks of bowing officers to a tent which had been prepared for the ceremony and when he had taken his seat the officials prostrated themselves three times before him. Then all came forward in a long stream and offered their scarves. The Regent blessed each according to his rank either with both hands or with one hand or with a tassel on the end of a stick. When all the scarves had been offered the company sat down in precedence on cushions of various heights and tea and rice were handed round. Norbhu and Richardson, sat apart from the Tibetan officials, on the right of the Regent. The Chinese (who had arrived with flags flying and with an armed guard) sat opposite on the place of less honour on the left.

The Regent soon left the tent and was carried in his chair the short distance to the river where two hide coracles tied together and decorated with yellow cloth even to the paddles, were waiting to take him across to where another tent and, presumably, more tea was awaiting him.

When he had gone we had a picnic breakfast by the river at which Tsarong Shape joined us.

Author: Hugh Richardson [see handwritten annotations in Diary by Hugh Richardson in MS. Or. Richardson 2, Bodleian Libary, Department of Oriental Collections, University of Oxford]

Page Reference: Pt VII p.2

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