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The Tongsa's body-guard [Bhutan]

The Tongsa's body-guard [Bhutan]

Photographer: White, John Claude

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1905

Shelfmark: Photo 20/(34)

Item number: 34

Length: 23.7

Width: 27.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph taken by John Claude White in 1905, a group portrait of the Tongsa (Trongsa) Penlop's bodyguard, with the Penlop (Governor) Sir Ugyen Wangchuk himself standing in the centre, at Tongsa Dzong in Bhutan. The men carry circular metal shields with four large bosses and the symbol of the sun and crescent moon standing proud. This is one of a set of photographs documenting a British mission to Bhutan, led by White, the political officer in Sikkim, to invest the Penlop with the order of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. Ugyen Wangchuk had accompanied the Younghusband Mission to Lhasa in 1904 and played a vital role as mediator between the Tibetans and the British. He was elected King of Bhutan in 1907, with the title of Druk Gyalpo (Druk meaning Dragon), and thus founded the hereditary monarchy which rules Bhutan to this day.

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