Tsarong in front of his house

Tsarong in front of his house

BMR. (Album Print black & white)

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Photographer's handlist

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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

February 13th 1937

Named Person

Tsarong Dzasa


Lhasa > Tsarong House

Accession number


Tsarong Dzasa, full length, on the steps of his house. Rows of potted plants can be seen in the background

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

A.19 [view film roll]

Related Collections

F. S. Chapman Collection in the Pitt Rivers Museum

This Image also appears in another collection


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - 'Tsarong Dzaza' has been written beneath the image in the album in pencil, apparently not by Hugh Richardson [MS 12/06/2006]

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 Tsarong in front of his [steps?]'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 2: ‘29/4 - Tsarong Dzasa, the son of an archer of the late Dalai Lama’s bodyguard, who married the Leicen of the Tsarong estates. He is the strong man of Tibet’ [MS 28/03/2006]

Research publication - Clare Harris and Tsering Shakya (eds) 'Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan capital 1936-1947' (Chicago: Serindia Publications), 2003, p. 8.

Biographical Information - Dasang Damdul Tsarong was a favourite of the 13th Dalai Lama, a military man and later a shappe (cabinet minister in the Tibetan government) until he was removed from office as a result of his modernising policies. He was a great friend of the British Mission frequently inviting them to his house and accompanying them on their various visits around Lhasa. He was considered by the mission to be a great character, as Gould recalled “Once, after a long and festive party at the De Kyi Lingka, he fell asleep in my arms murmuring, “Great minister, I love you, I love you”. At breakfast next morning he had his usual bright eye and was quite unperturbed. He spoke a little English. To him it seemed strange that anybody in India should not welcome British rule”. (1957:236) He had four wives (Including Rigzin Choden, Pema Dolkar, Rinchen Dolma (later Mary Taring) and Tseten Dolkar) and ten children. Although he was in India in 1956 he insisted on going back to Tibet to help the Dalai Lama to escape into exile. He was captured by the Chinese and in 1959 died mysteriously the night before what was due to be his public humiliation.

Other Information - Album: This image appears alongside two others of Jigme Taring and Ringang on page 24 of Hugh Richardson's album 'Lhasa 1936' [MS 12/06/2006]

Other Information - Description: "The door [of Tsarong's house] is ornamented in the best Tibetan style, but in front of it are a dozen granite steps covered with pots of flowering plants" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, p. 104] [MS 28/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: This image seems to be that referenced by 'A.19' in Chapman's handlist. Images prefixed with 'A' comprise a group of negatives containing images of officials and the Regent riding in ceremonial dress up to the Potala, all apparently taken on February 13th 1937. On this day Tsarong took Chapman unofficially to the Potala so that he could take photographs of the New Year ceremonies (no other Mission members accompanied because an official invitation had not been extended to them). This photograph, therefore, was probably taken at the end of the day, when Tsarong returned home with Chapman [MS 28/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Tsarong in front of his house" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_BMR.>.

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