Lhasa, Yu-tog zamba, a Bridge at the Entrance to Lhasa


This photograph showing the Yu-tog zamba, a stone bridge at the entrance to Lhasa, 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 bridge (which is called Yutok jampa and the Bridge Yu-tok in other sources) is located on the way from Lhasa to Potala (the palace of the Dalai Lama). It is covered with glassed blue tiles, but the name means the “turquoise roof bridge.” In Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (1902), Sarat Chandra Das describes the Yu-tog zamba as “a short stone bridge with a gate where a guard commanded by a lama is stationed, which examines all passers-by to ascertain the object of their visit to the city.” 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