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Kashmir Illustrations, 1854

 
//
Illustrations from  ‘Church Missionary Intelligencer’ (1854), a book that among other things has an account of a bunch of Christian missionaries in Kashmir getting chased around by Muslim mobs and getting asked ‘trick’ questions by a Pandit.

Baramulla on the Jailum, Kashmir

The geography of this place has been messing with my mind. Previously, I believed that the hillock in the background was misplaced, a figment of western imagination that mixed up Srinagar and Baramulla. It turns out that the composition of illustration is in all probability correct. The doubt created  my native imagination. This is Sumbul Bridge in Baramulla ( and the hillock is probably Aha Teng ?)

Bridge at Srinagur
Shah Hamadan

1908

 

Image

Image

a nice mourning cover (Mourning covers were black-edged envelopes used to send bereavement notices.)

It has several points of interest:


– It was sent from

Jammu

Jammu is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is in the country of India.According to the latest stats, Jammu has a population of 465,600. It is located in the Asia/Calcutta timezone.

Here are some photographs from this beautiful city:

 
Jammu image
Jammu
Jammu Jammu and Kashmir

to

 

Srinagar

Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir State in India, a few years after the Jammu & Kashmir State Post Office closed.


– It was sent to the wife of

Sir Francis Younghusband, who led the 1904 British Expedition to Tibet


– The cover was sent during Winter in Kashmir, when the State administration normally moved down from Srinagar, which could be cut off by snow, to Jammu.

 

Why did Lady Younghusband remain in Srinagar?


– The distance between Jammu and Srinagar is about 160 km – as the crow flies.

 

 The runners carrying this letter took 3 days to cover the distance, having to make a wide detour to the West to reach Srinagar because the passes would have been blocked by snow.

Sad to say, the Edward VII Indian Half Anna stamp is effectively worthless.

Read More Info

Retired doctor’s family to meet Dalai Lama

Retired doctor’s family to meet

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso,

Dalai Lama

In 1903,

fearful that the Chinese were on the verge of granting Tibet to Russia  and endangering their Raj in India, the British sent a military expedition into Tibet to prevent the rumor from becoming a reality.

The commander of the expedition, Sir Francis Younghusband, brought along British civil servant and photographer John Claude White to document the campaign.

White took a series of seventy photographs which were collected in an album c. 1905.

Amongst the platinum prints and two folding panoramas is

 this striking image of Tibetan nuns.

Considering that Buddhist nuns are required to keep their hair cropped short it is unclear why this group allowed their hair to grow to such impious length. As recently as 2002, the Chinese were imprisoning Tibetan nuns and forcing them to let their hair grow out, the least offensive of their many humiliating punishments.

The Tibetans were none too happy with the British incursion, the Chinese even less so, and the British were none too kind to the Tibetans.

 

 

Brigadier-General James Ronald Leslie Macdonald,

 

leading a military force of over 3,000, including Nepalese Gurkhas, faced off against 3,000 Tibetan troops armed with muskets at

the Battle of Guru, and a very short battle it was.

 After  negotiations to head things off failed, confusion ensued and the shooting began. The British, armed with Maxim machine guns, mowed down between 600-700 Tibetan troops.

The rest were allowed to peacefully retreat. Younghusband, who now assumed command of the British army, marched into Lhasa and negotiated a treaty with the Regent, who declared, “When one has known the scorpion [China] the frog [Britain] is divine.”

The British military mission ended in 1904, unpopular at home and everywhere else.

This album was recently at Bonhams for auction. It sold for £38,400 ($61,592), inclusive of buyer’s premium.
__________

[WHITE, JOHN CLAUDE]. An album of important images taken by John Claude White during Sir Francis Younghusband’s Tibet Mission of 1903-1904. 70 platinum prints and 2 folding panoramas, images approximately 160 x 210mm., captioned on the mounts, contemporary half green morocco, lettered ‘TIBET’ on the upper cover, sailcloth chemise, oblong folio, [c.1905]

 

Some works of John Claude White

Extracted between 5 works in the catalog of Arcadja

John Claude White - Tibet And Lhasa

John Claude White – Tibet And Lhasa

Description:

Back to catalogue Place Bid or Track Lot Lot No: 528 � WHITE (JOHN CLAUDE) Tibet and Lhasa, 53 photogravure plates, including a folding map, autograph letter signed (“John White”) and postmarked envelope from Lhasa pasted down to verso of upper cover, occasional light soiling, contemporary red cloth gilt, spine sunned, oblong 4to (200 x 265mm.), Johnston and Hoffman, [1908] Estimate: �7,000 – 9,000, � 7,900 – 10,000 Request Condition Report Footnote: A RARE SERIES OF IMAGES FROM YOUNGHUSBAND’S TIBET MISSION OF 1903-1904. Johnston and Hoffman’s promotional catalogue of 1905 mentions that the images were initially issued individually or in albums, as half-tone or carbon prints. They were later issued in a two volume set with letterpress descriptions by C.B. Bayley, dated 1907-08. These were almost immediately withdrawn from circulation for fear that the information contained would reveal classified details to the Chinese. Consequently, very few copies remain and are exceptionally rare. Hardly less rare is the volume offered here was published a few months later. For example, there is no copy of this edition in the British Library. When the 1903 expediton was formed White had already been in Sikkim for at least fifteen years. Together with the thrusting Younghusband, and supported by two hundred Indian troops, under the military command of General Macdonald, the expedition was to force the Tibetans to trade with British India, and to investigate concerns that Russia was gaining influence in Lhasa. Although Kurt and Pamela Meyer state in In the Shadow of the Himalayas: A Photographic Record of John Claude White 1883-1908 , that “[White’s] incomparable photographs have thus turned out to be the only lasting legacy of the ill-fated adventure of the Imperial Raj into Tibet”, the expedition succeeded, and was followed by many years of Anglo-Tibetan friendship and trade. White’s fascinating letter, on Tibet Frontier Commission headed paper, is dated 6.8.04 and addressed from Lhasa to R.H. Morton at a tea estate in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. In it White mentions a letter written by Morton which he has forwarded to “the Chief Supply and Transport Officer” regarding a “very large order”, presumed to be for White’s photographs. As he goes on to state: “You can obtain copies of my plates later. At present I have not seen proofs.” Images in this volume include: two views of Khambajong, the fort that was the first place visited by the Mission and where initial negotiations took place; the Abbot at Khambajong (illustrated); Gyantze Jong; Debung monastery; a group of lamas of Debung monastery; four views at Nejung monastery; a group portrait of the two stewards and senior lamas of Sera monastery; the entrance to Lhasa; eight views of the Potola, the palace of the Dalai Lama; a portrait of Ti Rimpochi, the Regent of Tibet with whom “the Dalai Lama left the ecclesiastical seal when he fled, and it was he who affixed the seal, and his own, to the Treaty signed in the Potola on 7th September 1904”; “The Shapes”, or the Executive Council of Four and a group portrait of Tongsa Penlop and his retinue. Contact the Specialist to discuss this lot or selling in a future sale Email: Francesca Spickernell Tel: +44 20 7468 8350 To subscribe to or order a Printed Catalogue quote ref: 18942 Tel: +44 (0) 1666 502 200
John Claude White - The Mission Post At Gyantze

John Claude White – The Mission Post At Gyantze

 

Description:

TIBET WHITE (JOHN CLAUDE) ‘The Mission Post at Gyantze’, carbon print on Whatman paper, with printed text leaf giving title and description, image 235 x 285mm., 1904, published 1906 John Claude White was an amateur photographer, who accompanied Younghusband on his mission to Tibet in 1903-4, having previously served in the Indian Public Works Department from 1876. While on the mission, White took a series of mainly landscape views. Some of these were issued in two photogravure volumes by Johnston and Hoffman of Calcutta in 1906. However, they were soon withdrawn due to the politically sensitive nature of the text and are now very scarce. Through extant Johnston and Hoffman adverts we know that single prints on ‘print-out paper’ were availabe at 2 ruppees each, whereas platinum prints were available at 3 ruppees each. The carbon prints offered here come from “edition de luxe”, which contained one hundred carbon prints made from the original negatives onto plate-sunk Whatman mounts, bound in two albums with soft-padded morocco covers for 300 ruppees. There are only four or five of these deluxe editions extant, and individual carbon prints are extremely rarely found. The accompanying caption reads: “The Mission Post at Gyantze. This is where the Mission sustained what may almost be called a state of siege for several months. They were under constant fire from the Jong, and on the occasion of the first fight at Karola, when many of the garrison were away with that force, a large body of the enemy attempted to rush the Mission Post, and one man actually got over the wall.”
John Claude White - Views Of Tibet

John Claude White – Views Of Tibet

Description:

platinum prints. 13,5 x 20 cm and 13,4 x 20,6 cm. Both annotated in pencil on the verso. The prints offered here are images. There are only six known copies of the complete Tibet album by White. The images were taken during the last ‘Tibet Mission’, an attempt by the British to force the Tibetans to cooperate on a mapping survey. – Fine strong prints in very good condition.
John Claude White - Tibet

John Claude White – Tibet

Description:

John Claude White ‘tibet’. an album of seventy-six photographs of tibet and lhasa, and a rare further series of studies including panoramas by an unidentified hand, circa 1900 and 1904 comprising seventy-five mounted studies, including one four-part panorama of Lhasa, Platinum Prints, one mounted three-part panorama of the Tsang Po Valley, Silver Prints, twenty-three mounted studies documenting the progress of the Younghusband Expedition and twelve loose studies including one three-part and one two-part panorama, Printing-out-Paper Prints (the majority in a panoramic format), the platinum prints approx. 133 by 203mm or the reverse, the panoramic prints approx. 63 by 185mm, the other printing-out-paper prints from 53 by 176mm to 143 by 208mm, the platinum prints and panorama of Tsang Po Valley titled in ink on album page, the majority of mounted panoramic prints numbered in pencil on album page, the majority of loose prints numbered in pencil on the reverse, full green leather, green cloth boards gilt-titled ‘Tibet’, oblong 4to In 1903 John Claude White, a political officer in Sikkim, was asked to join as Joint-Commissioner the ‘Tibet Frontier Commission’ under the command of Francis (later Sir Francis) Younghusband. They were joined by Captain Frederick O’Conner, who acted as interpreter, and an escort of two hundred Indian troops under the command of Brigadier-General J.R.L. Macdonald. The British officers’ secret and politically sensitive mission was to negotiate in favour of British interests in Asia in the face of the rumours that the Chinese were about to hand over Tibet to the Russians. White photographed extensively in the border regions of Tibet during his twenty years as political officer in Sikkim. However by far his most highly prized works are these, one of the earliest and most extensive photographic records of the interior and peoples of Tibet. In 1905 Messrs. Johnston & Hoffmann of Calcutta issued a promotional catalogue of the photographs taken by White. The photographs were available individually as platinum or printing-out-paper prints, in a single album of eighty prints printed in half-tone or a luxury edition of one hundred carbon prints. Johnston & Hoffmann later published the photographs as a two volume album, with letterpress descriptions by C.B. Baylay, dated 1907-8, and a smaller format one volume album of photogravures was issued in the following year. Copies of the 1907-8 publication are extremely rare (only a handful copies are known). Even rarer are albums such as this with ink manuscript titles. This album, which belonged to Lt. Col. James Arthur Prendergast Manson, officer in charge of supply and transport on the Younghusband expedition, is mounted with seventy-eight photographs by White, the titles of which appear in the Johnston & Hoffmann catalogue. Significantly, it also contains thirty-five additional mounted and loose photographs, the majority in panoramic format. More informal than the platinum prints, the photographs (which may be by White or another member of the expedition) provide a rare and fascinating record of the progress of the British officers and their Indian troops. Compare with the album sold at Christie’s, London, 30 April 1997, lot 127. Compare the additional silver prints with those attributed to Major MacCarthy Reagh Emmet Ray (1867-1906) in the collection of the National Army Museum, London. The 1907-8 publication: Sotheby’s, New York, 6 April 2000, lot 77 (previously sold Sotheby Parke Bernet, 2 November 1979, lot 258). Sotheby’s, London, 13 May 1994, lot 20. Sotheby’s, New York, 10 & 11 May 1983, lot 531. Provenance: Lt. Col. James Arthur Predergast Manson. Thence by descent.
John Claude White - Tibet

John Claude White – Tibet

 

Description:

TIBET WHITE (JOHN CLAUDE) Two views of the Chaksam Ferry, carbon prints on Whatman paper, images 185 x 310mm., 1904, published 1906 (2) The expedition under Younghusband reached the Chaksam Ferry on the 25th July, 1904. It took seven days for all the troops and equipment to cross the Tsangpo, and tragically on their first day, Major G.H. Bretherton, D.S.O., the chief supply and transport officer drowned

Colonel Bruce Turnbull of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers Regiment.

Colonel Bruce Turnbull of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers Regiment. Objects gathered by him in Tibet as “souvenirs” in the course of the Sir Francis Younghusband “expedition” to Tibet in 1903-4, are to be returned to Tibet, as represented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, during the Dalai Lama’s visit to Edinburgh later this month. Photographer unknown

Sify

EDINBURGH, Scotland, 12 June 2012

The sound they make is said to be an eerie, haunting kind of wail, the kind of bone-chilling howl that some might suggest is enough to wake the dead.

Perhaps that is not entirely surprising, given that the bizarre whistle, or kangling, is made from the thigh bone of a long-dead Tibetan monk.

Retrieved from a battleground, bound with carefully plaited leather, adorned with human skin and silver thread, the curious instrument was brought to Edinburgh more than 100 years ago, a keepsake from a time which, with hindsight, was hardly Britain’s finest hour.

Now, as the visit to Scotland by Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, approaches, it is to be finally returned home.

The foot-long bone whistle was among a collection of souvenirs from the roof of the world gathered by Edinburgh-born Colonel Bruce Turnbull of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers Regiment.

He was involved when the regiment took part in the infamous Sir Francis Younghusband expedition to Tibet in 1903-4, a venture into what was then a closed and deeply private nation where outsiders rarely ventured, which would end in violence, mayhem and bloodshed.

The religious artefact — along with a collection of other Tibetan objects — was eventually brought to Edinburgh and later ended up with a family member in London.

But now Col Turnbull’s grandson, Dr Michael Turnbull, has decided the Dalai Lama’s visit to Edinburgh later this month means the time has come to return it into Tibetan possession.

“It is an act of reconciliation,” says Dr Turnbull, 71, of Longniddry. “I think my grandfather probably did not understand quite what he was doing. It was a long time ago.

“Certainly, this is an item that has no real place in my home. It is time for it to go back to its own home.”

It was late March 1904 when his grandfather, the Merchiston Castle-educated son of a Scot who had gone on to become major surgeon general in Bombay, India, found himself at the heart of what has been called “one of the most shameful acts of British history.”

A formidable army, led by Colonel Sir Francis Edward Younghusband, had been formed to march on the closed country of Tibet, on the shaky premise that the Russians planned to expand their empire into that strategic part of Asia.

Around 3000 troops from the 23rd Sikh Pioneers Regiment, armed with machine-guns and accompanied by a further 7000 camp followers, poured into the Himalayan country to be met by locals, rich in religious spirit but armed with a rusty collection of 18th century flintlock rifles.

Who shot first is one of history’s great mysteries. Regardless, the result was bloodshed and carnage.

Some 700 lightly-armed Tibetan monks were killed in the village of Guru alone.

Overall, around 3000 Tibetans — some reports suggest 5000 — were slaughtered by Younghusband’s forces in an action sanctioned during what became known as the Great Game — the desperate race for influence in central Asia, at the heart of which sat the tiny mountainous nation.

By contrast, it’s said the British casualties amounted to five.

The hope had been to force the tiny country bordering colonial India to engage in trade and diplomacy with the British Empire, keeping any aspirations of the Russian Tsar firmly in check.

While it may have brought Tibet to its knees, the strategy was effective. In the capital, Lhasa, in August 1904, a treaty was signed effectively turning Tibet into a British protectorate.

Yet the British claims that the action had simply been intended to settle disputes over the Sikkim-Tibet border were derided by others as an invasion of Tibet.

Col Turnbull was, says his grandson, a young officer at the time without, of course, the benefits of hindsight.

“He was nominated for the Victoria Cross,” he adds. “There are illustrations in a magazine which show him dragging a wounded comrade to safety. So while it wasn’t perhaps the finest moment in British history, it wasn’t completely one-way traffic.”

Dr Turnbull, who was looked after by Col Turnbull and his wife, Jessie, after his mother died in a car accident when he was a child, has only vague recollections of his grandfather. “He died in 1952, I hardly knew him. But I do remember him as a stern and distant figure. At one point, he became deputy lord provost for Edinburgh Town Council.

“He adopted me, so to speak. I remember them taking me to St Peter’s Church for mass, even though they weren’t Catholic, but they respected the promise my father had given to my mother to raise me that way. I went on to do my PhD at New College, so they couldn’t have been too bad.”

Other items from Col Turnbull’s Tibetan collection had already been given to the National Museum by the family, including a striking three-feet -high, 17th century silver goddess and dozens of photographic slides taken during the expedition.

But the whistle — which is regarded by Tibetans to have special and magical qualities — had been kept at a London-based relative’s home.

He made the offer to return the relic to Tibet through the Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association which has helped organise the Dalai Lama’s three-day tour.

He has been granted an early morning audience with the spiritual leader on June 22, during which he will return the item.

Traditionally, a kangling is made from a hollowed-out thigh bone. Holes are made in the knee area to create a kind of trumpet while a mouthpiece is created at the other end.

Beeswax is often poured in to keep it dry and free from micro-organisms.

A kangling is used in various Himalayan Buddhist rituals.

“It might sound quite gruesome to have an instrument made from bone, but it’s not really,” said Dr Turnbull.

“To play this flute would have been a sacred thing to do. It is a precious church object and I’m very pleased that it is finally going home.”

source:Johnston Publishing Ltd
 

A practical, though lethal, gift for the Dalai Lama

 

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso,
Excerpt from Chapter 17 of The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds published in the Ottawa Citizen.  

“The Chinese authorities seem to guard the Dalai Lama closely,” Baron Gustaf Mannerheim wrote in his diary in July 1908. The Russian colonel, who was on a secret intelligence-gathering mission in China, had just arrived at Wutai Shan, the most sacred of four Buddhist mountains in China. One of its mountaintop temples was, he wrote, “the present abode, not to say prison, of the Buddhists’ pope, the Dalai Lama.”

A Chinese army captain named Wang told Mannerheim that “a cordon of soldiers” guarded the approaches to Wutai Shan in northeast Shanxi province. In the event of an attempt to escape, Wang explained, the Dalai Lama “would be stopped, by armed force if necessary.” But in his wanderings around Wutai Shan, Mannerheim saw no such cordon. “I could not help noticing, however, that [Wang] watched my movements with the greatest interest.”

Pusading Temple was the "prison" of the Dalai Lama in 1908.

Wang urged Mannerheim to take him as his interpreter during his audience with the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. But a Tibetan prince had already secretly informed Mannerheim that Wang was not welcome. The Tibetans despised Wang, whom they considered a spy, and prohibited him and his troops from the inner precincts of the temple.

Wutai Shan was more podium than prison for the Dalai Lama. Upon arriving here in the spring of 1908, His Holiness sent messages to the Peking Legations inviting envoys to visit. William Woodville Rockhill, the American ambassador to China, was the first. He pulled on his walking boots and set out for Wutai Shan on foot, a five-day trek from Peking. Rockhill was a scholar and diplomat who had explored Inner Asia in the 1890s and spoke Tibetan. He had left Wutai Shan only a day before Mannerheim’s arrival.

“The Talé Lama seems to me a man of undoubted intelligence, open-minded… a very agreeable, kindly, thoughtful host, and a personage of great dignity,” Rockhill reported back to President Theodore Roosevelt. The Dalai Lama told Rockhill about his struggles against the Chinese and how his country’s remoteness meant Tibet had “no friends abroad.” Rockhill assured His Holiness that he was mistaken: Tibet had many foreign well-wishers who hoped to see Tibetans “prosper and happy.” Later, during the Dalai Lama’s visit to Peking, Rockhill became a confidant to the Tibetan leader, quietly pushing a rapprochement with the Chinese.

In the summer of 1908, the Dalai Lama received a parade of envoys: a German doctor from the Peking Legation; an English explorer named Christopher Irving; R.F. Johnson, a British diplomat from the Colonial Service; and Henri D’Ollone, a French army major and viscount. The Dalai Lama hoped to patch up his relations with Britain after its invasion of Lhasa in 1904 and bolster his international standing. These first audiences with the mysterious Buddhist pontiff were much anticipated.

On his second day in Wutai Shan, a messenger ran into Mannerheim’s room in the Tayuan Temple and gestured that the Dalai Lama was ready to receive him. Mannerheim duly prepared himself. While he was shaving and changing his clothes, another frantic messenger arrived to express the Dalai Lama’s impatience. “I was just as impatient,” he wrote, “but could not possibly dress any faster.” A few minutes later, an anxious Tibetan prince appeared to ask what Mannerheim meant by keeping His Holiness waiting. At a swift pace, the Baron and prince climbed the steep staircase to Pusading Temple.

Staircase to the Pusading Temple in Wutai Shan

Wang, in full dress uniform, was waiting at the top with a Chinese honour guard. The Chinese had reason to worry about Mannerheim’s visit. Chinese authorities had just arrested two Russian military officers who were inciting the Mongols to break from China and become a Russian protectorate. During his stay in Urga (now Ulan Baatar), the Dalai Lama sent messages to the Tsar through various envoys. His Holiness told one Russian military intelligence officer that both Tibet and Mongolia should “irrevocably secede from China to form an independent allied state, accomplishing this operation with Russia’s patronage and support, avoiding bloodshed.” If Russia wouldn’t help, the Dalai Lama insisted, he would even ask Britain—his former foe—for help. After his visit with the Dalai Lama, Mannerheim, in fact, trekked to Inner Mongolia to gauge the rebellious mood of the Mongols.

Wang could barely hide his wrath when Mannerheim told him that he could not attend his audience with the Tibetan pontiff. The Chinese captain argued with two of the Dalai Lama’s assistants. As the Baron slipped into a small reception hall, he caught sight of Wang “making vain efforts to force his way in behind me.”

The Dalai Lama sat on a gilded armchair placed on a dais along the back wall of the small room. Two old Tibetans, unarmed, with beards and hair speckled with grey stood behind him. The Dalai Lama was frocked in “imperial yellow with light-blue linings” and a “traditional red toga.” The thirty-three-year-old pontiff had a dark brown face, shaved head, moustache and a tuft of hair under his lower lip. His eyes were large and his teeth gleamed. Mannerheim noticed “slight hollows in the skin of his face, which are supposed to be pockmarks.” He appeared a bit nervous, “which he seems anxious to hide.” Otherwise, Mannerheim thought he was “a lively man in full possession of his mental and physical faculties.”

Mannerheim made a “profound bow,” which the Dalai Lama acknowledged with a slight nod. They exchanged silk scarves. His Holiness began with small talk, asking Mannerheim about his nationality, age and journey. The Dalai Lama then paused and, twitching nervously, asked if the Tsar had sent a secret message for him. “He awaited the translation of my reply with obvious interest,” wrote Mannerheim, who informed him that he hadn’t the opportunity to personally speak with Tsar Nicholas II before his departure. The Dalai Lama then gestured, and a beautiful piece of white silk with Tibetan letters was brought out. It was a gift that Mannerheim was to deliver personally to Nicholas II.

The Dalai Lama told Mannerheim he had been enjoying his journeys in Mongolia and China, but “his heart was in Tibet.” Many Tibetans were urging him to return. His officials claimed up to twenty thousand pilgrims visited the Dalai Lama each month, but Mannerheim thought it was “an undoubted exaggeration.” The Tibetan pontiff was in the midst of a showdown with Empress Dowager Cixi, who wanted him to come to Peking to perform the kowtow. The Dalai Lama, Mannerheim wrote, “does not look like a man resigned to play the part the Chinese Government wishes him to, but rather like one who is only waiting for an opportunity of confusing his adversary.” The wily Tibetan pontiff had postponed his journey so many times that a joke was circulating in Peking referring to him as the “Delay Lama.”

Mannerheim spoke encouragingly about Russia’s sympathies for Tibet’s struggles against the Chinese. Russia’s troubles were over, the Baron assured him, and “the Russian Army was stronger than ever.” Now, all Russians watched His Holiness’s footsteps with great interest, he added. The Dalai Lama, Mannerheim recalled, “listened to my polite speeches with unconcealed satisfaction.”

Twice the Dalai Lama ordered his bodyguards to check if Wang was eavesdropping on their conversation. It was a dangerous time for the Dalai Lama, who knew his life may be in danger if he returned to Lhasa. The Chinese were tightening their grip on Tibet. Lamas were being assassinated, monasteries plundered and Tibetans evicted from their nomadic pastures. Peking needed the Dalai Lama to be a compliant vassal who could calm his restless followers and ease Tibet’s incorporation into the Chinese Empire.

But the Dalai Lama proved defiant. He visited Peking that September and immediately fell out with the Imperial Court, which issued a decree demoting him to “a loyal and submissive Vicegerent bound by the laws of the sovereign state.” A prominent Imperial censor also openly denounced him as “a proud and ignorant man.” Rumours spread in Tibet that he had been assassinated. Outraged at various reforms, lamas threatened a “holy war” against the Chinese. By the end of 1908, a rebellion broke out, leading to the defeat of Chinese troops. The Dalai Lama eventually returned to Lhasa in 1909 and sent telegrams to Britain and all European countries attacking Peking’s claim over Tibet.

In February 1910, Chinese troops invaded Lhasa. The Dalai Lama fled to India. An Imperial decree denounced His Holiness as “an ungrateful, irreligious obstreperous profligate who is tyrannical and so unacceptable to the Tibetans, and accordingly an unsuitable leader of Lamas.” After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, His Holiness returned to Tibet in 1913, declaring the country independent. He died in 1933, leaving a prophetic last testament for the next Dalai Lama:

We must guard ourselves against the barbaric red communists… the worst of the worst. It will not be long before we find the red onslaught at our own front door… and when it happens we must be ready to defend ourselves. Otherwise our spiritual and cultural traditions will be completely eradicated… and the days and nights will pass slowly and with great suffering and terror. 

Recognizing the clear and present danger, Mannerheim offered the Dalai Lama an unusual, though practical, gift: a Browning revolver. The Baron apologized that he didn’t have a better offering, but explained that after two years’ journey he had no other items of value. The Dalai Lama laughed, “showing all his teeth,” as Mannerheim showed His Holiness how to quickly reload seven cartridges into the revolver. The Dalai Lama relished the demonstration. “The times were such,” Mannerheim wrote, “that a revolver might at times be of greater use, even to a holy man like himself, than a praying mill.”

 

 

 

From The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China by Eric Enno Tamm. Copyright © 2010 by Eric Enno Tamm. Published by arrangement with Douglas & McIntyre.

Ladakh and Kashmir, 1908

 
//
33 photographs from ‘An eastern voyage: A journal of the travels of Count Fritz Hochberg through the British empire in the East and Japan (1910) by Hochberg, Friedrich Maximilian, Graf von, (1868-1921) ,Volume: 1. Year 1908. With that the total number of photographs uploaded to this blog comes around to about 3000. And my hard-disk is still cluttered with hundreds more!

Ladakhi Woman and Chid, showing the sheepskin headgear.
Ladakhi woman at Leh
Canal between Floating Garden, Dal Lake, Srinagar 

 
Uri Road
Harrowing in Ladakh
Old Hindu Monuments near Dras
Indus Valley near Leh
Kashmiri Women Pounding Rice. 
Ladakhi women Harvesting
Ladakhi women weaving
Lamayuroo Convent
main Street Leh
Mulbe
Nimoo Resthouse
Shah Jehan’s Summer House . (Probably Nishat Bagh. This structure was apparently pulled down in relatively recent time)
Srinagar
Srinagar
Tibetans travelling
Wooden Bridge on way to Leh

the end copyight @ 2012

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