Click here to skip to content

The Tongsa Penlop's medical attendant, a Lama from one of the Lhasa monasteries [Tongsa, Bhutan]

The Tongsa Penlop's medical attendant, a Lama from one of the Lhasa monasteries [Tongsa, Bhutan]

Photographer: White, John Claude

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1905

Shelfmark: Photo 20/(40)

Item number: 40

Length: 28

Width: 24

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Tongsa Penlop's medical attendant probably taken at Tongsa (Trongsa) in Bhutan by John Claude White in 1905. The Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa, Ugyen Wungchuk, had accompanied the Younghusband Mission to Lhasa in 1904 and played a key role as mediator between the Tibetans and the British. This is one of a set of photographs documenting White's mission to Bhutan to invest Ugyen Wungchuk with the order of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. This photograph was also reproduced in The National Geographic Magazine (Apr 1914), with the following caption: 'An old lama, known as the Lhasa doctor. He was quite a character, and posed himself for this picture with his human thigh-bone trumpet and skull drum'. Bhutan, on the slopes of the southern Himalayas, is bordered by Tibet to the north and India to the south, east and west. Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism was established in Bhutan in the 8th century by Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) a saint from Swat (in present-day Pakistan). The religious school (Nyingmapa) he founded is still powerful in parts of Bhutan, but the state religion of the country is Vajrayana Buddhism of the Drukpa Kagyupa school which came to Bhutan from Tibet in the 13th century. Drukpas include the ethnic group (Ngalops) of the high Himalayas in the north and west who wield political and cultural hegemony in Bhutan.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites

Newsletter

Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: