Trees with prayer flags by Gyantse bridge

Trees with prayer flags by Gyantse bridge

1998.131.207 (Print black & white)

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Photographer's handlist

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

February - March 1937


Gyantse >

Accession number


Image Dimensions

116 x 172 mm

Prayer flags on trees near Gyantse Bridge, including large prayer flags attched to their tops. Possibly Gyantse fort in the background in the right of the image. Low mountains are visible in the distance. The river's edge can be seen in the bottom left hand corner of the image.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Faith Spencer Chapman


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Catologue Number

E.13 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number



'Lhasa the Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto and Windus, 1940 [view list of illustrations]

Other Information

Notes on print/mount - There are a large number of cropping and proof marks on the back of the print. '8b' has been written in pencil in the top left hand corner. The print is a 'Facsimile' according to the notes on the back. There are also instructions to crop the image down both the left and right sides. These crops would remove the waters edge on the bottom left hand side and the straight ridge of the mountains in the background on the extreme right . The reference 'O-E-13' has been written in pencil on the back of the print. This seems to relate to Chapman's image numbering system that he used when on the British Mission to Lhasa in 1936-37. There also appears to a be a Chatto & Windus reference number (the publishers of Lhasa the Holy City , Chapman's book published in 1938). This is C&W 41074/18 [MS 19/1/2005]

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]: '1/2 Prayer flags on 3 trees of G. [Gyantse] bridge'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 1, From Gangtok to the Natu La August 1936: ‘16/1 - Prayer flags beside Gyantse bridge to protect wayfarers’ [MS 13/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'E.' seem to have been taken at the end of the Mission in February 1936 and on the return journey from Lhasa to Gyantse and beyond. They comprise a group of negatives containing images of Kundeling, Drepung, Gyantse, Karo La and Ralung bridge [MS 13/03/2006]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Prayer flags or lungta (Wind Horse) Are In The Colours Of The Five Elements . E ach Flag Is A Different Colou r. White = Air, Blue = Water, Green = Earth, Yellow = Wood, Red = Fire. O ften They Are Printed With The Figure Of A Pegasus Type Horse Carrying The Auspicious Wish-fulfilling Gem And Mantras Written In Tibetan Characters . [Marina de Alarcón ZF 1995.1]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Local people and travellers would add prayer flags to these sites to propitiate local spirits and ensure the avoidance of misfortune [TS 20/1/2005]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Trees with prayer flags by Gyantse bridge" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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