The Thirteenth Dalai Lama on throne in Norbu Lingka

No scan for this photo

1998.285.86.2 (Lantern Slide)

Image for comparison


(Glass negative)

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Key Information


Sir Charles Bell & Rabden Lepcha


Sir Charles Bell

Date of Photo

October 14th 1921

Named Person

13th Dalai Lama


Lhasa > Norbu Lingka > Throne Room

Accession number


Image Dimensions

81 x 81 mm

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama (1876-1933) seated on a throne on an ornately carved and painted dais in the Norbu Lingka Palace. Surrounded by thangka, silk banners. This is the throne used by the Dalai Lama on important occasions.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Lantern Slide

Date Acquired

Donated 1983

Donated by

St Antony's College, Oxford.


Sir Charles Bell's Mission to Lhasa 1920-21

Photo also owned by

Royal Central Asiatic Society

Previous Catologue Number

See H.76

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Bell's List of Illustrations entry for H.76: "[No. of chapter] V. [Subject of Chapter] Dalai Lama. [Subject of illustration] H76 (u) Dalai Lama on his throne, 4ft high, in Norbu Lingka, as when blessing pilgrims. Behind throne red silk brocade; above it nine silk scrolls, each representing Buddha in the 'earth-pressing' (sa-non) attitude. In front of throne is a dais, 18 ins. high with a balustrade of finely carved woodwork running round it. Hanging down in front of the throne is a white silk cloth embroidered in gold with crossed dorjes. Flowers, i.e., chrysanthemums, marigolds etc., are set round the dais. This is the throne which the DL uses on important occasions. [Where placed - book page] I, 144. [Remarks] L.44 [lantern slide 44] {D.L./Y. in L.}"

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: It is not clear from which negative this lantern slide has been made, but under magnification, the highly contrasted shadows on the Dalai Lama's hands and fingers suggests that the lantern slide has been made by projecting 1998.285.86 through an enlarger. See notes below for comments on modifications Bell made to the negative glass plates of this image [MS 20/8/2004]

Notes on print/mount - '43' has been written in blue-black ink [MS 20/8/2004]

Other Information - Description: Bell's Diary entry for 14th October 1921:"Rabden and I photographed the Dalai Lama this forenoon, sitting on the throne in his throne room, as he would sit when blessing pilgrims. The photos on the whole turned out well. ... This is the throne room that is used on important occasions. // While the room was being arranged the D[alai] L[ama] came in to see that the arrangements were properly made. It was interesting to see him en famille , in his own household. Monk officials, ordinary workmen, went about their work, almost jostling against him, while he wound in and out among them, giving an order here, making a slight change there. Workmen clean and polish the boarded floor by sliding over it boots with large woollen flanges attached, like a ballroom being got ready for a dance." [Diary Vol. XIII, pp. 28-9]

Other Information - Description: Bell describes this occasion in detail “I am to take the Dalai Lama’s photograph again ... the first time that anyone has photographed him in the Holy City (Lhasa)... The arrangement of the throne-room is not ready. I watch them arranging it. The throne is built up of two or three wooden pieces; the nine silk scrolls, representing the Buddha in the earth-pressing attitude, are already placed on the wall behind and above the throne... Below these scrolls red silk brocade covers the wall. The throne is four feet high, a seat without a low balustrade of beautifully carved woodwork running around it. Hanging down in front of the throne is a cloth of rich white silk, handsomely embroidered in gold, with crossed thunderbolts (symbol of equilibrium, immutability and almighty power) ... Chrysanthemums, marigolds and other flowers are arranged round the dais.” (
Portrait of the Dalai Lama .p336)

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "The Thirteenth Dalai Lama on throne in Norbu Lingka" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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