Tibetan Women


“Tibetan Women” is from a collection of 50 photographs of central Tibet acquired in 1904 from the Imperial Russian Geographical Society in Saint Petersburg by the American Geographical Society. The photograph shows two Tibetan women of the lower class, walking barefoot, carrying loads on their backs. W.W. Rockhill, in his 1890 edition of Tibet, states: "Tibetan women are robust and the men weak, and one may frequently see women performing in the place of their husbands the socage services which the people owe. As a consequence (of the superior physique of the women), three or four brothers sometimes marry one wife, and if children are born to them, they take their choice of them and divide them among themselves. The woman who is able to live with three or four brothers is called by every one 'a belle', because she knows how to manage a whole family." The photographs in this collection were taken by two Mongolian Buddhist lamas, G.Ts. Tsybikov and Ovshe (O.M.) Norzunov, who visited Tibet in 1900 and 1901. Accompanying the photos is a set of notes written in Russian for the Imperial Russian Geographical Society by Tsybikov, Norzunov, and other Mongolians familiar with central Tibet. Alexander Grigoriev, corresponding member of the American Geographical Society, translated the notes from Russian into English in April 1904.

Last updated: March 22, 2016