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Interior of main courtyard: Tashichhu Jong [Thimphu, Bhutan]

Interior of main courtyard: Tashichhu Jong [Thimphu, Bhutan]

Photographer: White, John Claude

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1905

Shelfmark: Photo 20/(11)

Item number: 11

Length: 19.3

Width: 30.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the main courtyard at the interior of Trashi Chhoe Dzong at Thimphu in Bhutan, taken by John Claude White in 1905. This photograph also appears in The National Geographic Magazine (Apr 1914) with the following caption: 'A courtyard at Tashi-Cho-Jong, with the Citadel on the left and a fine chorten, or shrine, in the centre'. White stated in his article, 'The interior of the castle is divided into two unequal portions by a high wall, the larger section to the south containing the usual square tower, measuring about 85 feet each way, and in this are situated the chapel and private apartments of the Dharma Raja, the spiritual head of the nation'. This is one of a set of photographs documenting White's mission to Bhutan to present Ugyen Wangchuk, the Penlop (Governor) of Tongsa (Trongsa) in central Bhutan, who had assisted the British in their relations with Tibet, with the order of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. The fortress of Trashi Chhoe Dzong overlooking the Thimpu Chhu river is the summer residence of the Chief Abbot or Je Khenpo together with the central monk body of Bhutan. The Dzong was developed on the site of a much older monastery in the 17th century by the Shabdrung or powerful spiritual leader who unified Bhutan and helped define its identity. He devised a system whereby dzongs or fortified monasteries performed administrative as well religious functions. The chorten (stupa) in the centre of the image is in the Bhutanese style, a square pillar-like construction with a shingled roof.

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