1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

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

December 9th and December l0th, Wednesday and Thursday.

Gould and Richardson called on Tendong and Bhondong Shappes and were given a lunch at each house.

Photographs were taken of all the Mission staff. Perhaps the syces in their tall gold-ornamented hats, and loose fitting robes edged with leopard skin, are the most spectacular members of our party.

In the afternoon we visited Kundeling monastery, where our landlords live. It is a small monastery (there are only about a hundred monks there) but a very beautiful one. The main, part of it is built round a square cobbled courtyard, in general proportions not unlike a court of a Cambridge College.

The abbot, who has held the post for forty years, is a man of great character. Although he has never been more than thirty miles from Lhasa, he showed a lively interest in many subjects. This was especially apparent a few days later when we took our projector over and gave a film show to the Kundeling monks.

At the time of our visit to the monastery a strange ceremony was in progress; a monk, curiously attired, in fact rather resembling father Christmas-was muttering incantations and burning berbs in an open fire, while other monks with drums, cymbals and trumpets squatted before him. We were told that the object of this performance was to prevent disease which is apt to be rife as autumn passes to winter.

Author: Frederick Spencer Chapman [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 X p.3

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