Lhasa, Drepung Monastery


This general view of the Drepung monastery (also seen as De-Pung, De-p’ung, Debang, Drabung, Dabung, Brebung, or Brasbung 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. On the right of the photograph can be seen the mountain Gapal ri (also known as Gambo Utse). According to W.W. Rockhill in his Tibet (1890), Drepung was the most populous monastery in Tibet. In the The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism (1899), L.A. Waddell writes that it was the “most powerful and populous of all the monasteries in Tibet, founded and named after the Indian Tantrik monastery of 'The rice-heap' (Sri-Dhanya Kataka) in Kalinga and identified with Kalacakra doctrine. It is situated about three miles west of Lhasa, and contains nominally 7,000 monks.” 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