New Year ceremony at Nechung

New Year ceremony at Nechung

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 14th 1937


Lhasa Area > Nechung

Accession number


Nechung monastery at the dance held early in the Tibetan New Year when the oracle foretells coming events as a preliminary to the start of the Great Prayer the following day. Drepung Monastery can be seen in the background. Officials can be seen entering the courtyard to take their seats in the background on the left. Crowds seated in front of photographer looking towards the main entrance of the temple. Drepung Monastery can be seen in the background

Further Information


Divining , Ritual Activity

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

D.9 [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 - This contact print has been printed out on Velox paper, with the trade name enclosed in an oval. The batch development number '631' has been printed on the back in red ink [MS 22/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: This image may be that referenced by 'D.9' in Chapman's handlist of images made whilst in Lhasa. In which case the caption is: '1/2 Netchung [Nechung] dance'. A further caption is listed in the PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 3: ‘10/2 - At Netchung [Nechung] the monastery of the state oracle (Drepung Monastery in background). The Oracle is on the balcony and is about to go into a trance’ [MS 22/03/2006]

Other Information - Description: "On the following day, 14th February, all the officials, including the Regent and Prime Minister, had to go to the monastery of the State Oracle. We had not been invited to attend this, but Tsarong thought it would be a good chance for me to get some photographs, and offered to take me with him and to look after me. // ... Tsarong found a place for me just beside the entrance but beneath the cloister roof, so I was fairly inconspicuous and the light was excellent. I collected a small table to stand on so that I could take photographs above the heads of the crowd who half-filled the court" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, pp. 315-6; for full description see p. 315 ff] [MS 22/03/2006]

Other Information - Cultural Background

Other Information - Cultural Background: Hugh Richardson, in a letter to his parents, commented on this event “I would like to have gone but if one goes officially the Tibetan Govt has to make special arrangements” [Bodleian Library, Richardson Archive, MS Or Richardson 3 folio 64] [MS 22/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "New Year ceremony at Nechung" 05 Dec. 2006. The British Museum. <>.

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