Lhasa, Potala Palace from the South


This view of Potala (the palace of the Dalai Lama), seen here from the south, 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. A note provided by the photographer, Ovshe (O.M.) Norzunov, states: “The large dark (de facto red) building on the top of the hill is the Phodang Marpo or the Red Palace [described by] Sarat Chandra Das [in Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (1902)]. The main southern entrance to the palace is in the white building in the foreground. To the left (on the picture) of the main entrance and in front of it is in an enclosure a dark (de facto yellow) pavilion over a ‘pei’ dating from 1794 and standing on a stone. To the right of the main entrance is a similar dark (yellow) pavilion over a stone tablet standing on a square stone pedestal, dating from 1721. The (monolith) column seen near the right pavilion bears an illegible inscription in Tibetan. Inside the walls, to the right (on the picture) of the main entrance is the mint.” 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.

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Physical Description

1 photograph ; 5.5 x 8.5 inches


  1. S.C. Das, Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (London: John Murray, 1902).
  2. J. Deniker, “New light on Lhasa, the forbidden city,” The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, vol. 66 (1903).
  3. W.W. Rockhill, Tibet (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1890).

Last updated: March 22, 2016