Tashi-lhunpo Monastery from the South


This southern view of the Tashi-lhunpo monastery (also seen as Tashi-lhumpo in other sources) seen from afar 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 photographer, Ovshe (O.M.) Norzunov, included a note: “On the extreme right end of the picture is the Jong or citadel of Shigatse. Inside the walls of the monastery stand in a line five tombs of the deceased Pan-ch'en Rin-po-ch'e [or Panchen rinpoche] with roofs in Chinese style. The dark (red de facto) low building standing in advance of the tombs between the second and the third is the grand congregation hall, Nagk'an [or Nag-pa Ta-Ts'an]. The huge Kiku Tamsa [a storehouse upon which giant tapestries are hung] described and figured by [Captain Samuel] Turner in his ‘Account of an Embassy to the Court of the Tashoo [Teshu] Lama in Tibet’ . . .  is on the right end of the monastery.” In The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism (1899), L.A. Waddell writes: “Tashi-lunpo (bkra-sis Lhun-po) or the 'Heap of Glory', [is] the headquarters of the Pan-ch'en Grand Lama, who to some extent shares the Lhasa grand lama the headship of the church. [. . .] The monastery forms quite a small town, and not lamas other than established church can stay there over-night.” The photographs in this collection were taken by two Mongolian Buddhist lamas, G.Ts. Tsybikov and 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