Gyantse Jong (Gyangze), Chorten Goman


This view of the Chorten Goman in the town of Gyantse (also seen as Gyangze, Gangtse, or Gyangtse in other sources) 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. In The Land of Lamas (1891), W.W. Rockhill writes that the word “chorten” means “offering holder.” Rockhill adds: “Great numbers are built in the vicinity of lamaseries, and serve to point out the roads leading to them. They are also something like the stations in the Catholic 'Path to the Cross', as pilgrims, when journeying to a shrine, perform prostrations before each churten [chorten] met on the way.” In Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (1902), Sarat Chandra Das describes the chorten seen in this photograph: “The chorten is a splendid edifice of an unique style of architecture. Hitherto I had been under the impression that chorten were nothing more than tombs intended solely to contain the remains of departed saints, but now my views became entirely changed. This chorten is a lofty temple nine stores high.” 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