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Village of Tongsa [Bhutan]

Village of Tongsa [Bhutan]

Photographer: White, John Claude

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1905

Shelfmark: Photo 20/(21)

Item number: 21

Length: 18.1

Width: 30.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the village of Tongsa (Trongsa) in Bhutan taken by John Claude White in 1905. This is a general view of the village, giving a good impression of Bhutanese chalet-like domestic architecture. This photograph was also reproduced in The National Geographic Magazine (Apr 1914), with the caption: 'A prettily situated Bhutan village, with alpine scenery and group in foreground', White described the local building methods in his article, 'The Bhutanese are very clever builders, and their woodwork is always of a high standard of excellence, their doors, windows and panelling being perfect in their way. The houses are of three of four stories, with balconies opening on to courts in the interior. The ornamentation is of carved wood, generally painted. No ironwork is used, and the doors are hung on ingeniously constructed wooden hinges.' This is one of a set of photographs documenting White's mission to Bhutan to invest Ugyen Wangchuk, the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa district in Central Bhutan, with the order of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. Ugyen Wangchuk had accompanied the Younghusband Mission to Lhasa in 1904 and played a useful role as mediator between the Tibetans and the British.

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