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Arts & Entertainment "Beauty in art is often nothing but ugliness subdued." The written word, the spoken word, performance art, visual art. What is "Art?" From television advertising to opera, comic books to classic literature, vacation snapshots to the Sistine Chapel Frescoes; we are exposed to art every day. What is art to you?

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Old 04-10-2010, 08:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Amazing 1903 photos that showed the secret kingdom of Tibet

An incredible set of pictures taken during the controversial 1903 British Mission to Tibet has come to light - the first ever photos to come out of the mysterious country.

The rare snaps were taken by an officer during the campaign - the first time the British were given access to the country.

They depict the haunting beauty of the secluded country and brought images of Tibeten landscapes including Mount Everest to the west for the first time.
The 72 stunning pictures show local people, buildings and even a group of nuns gathered to smile for the camera.


The pictures date from the notorious expedition of Edwardian adventurer Francis Younghusband in 1903-04 and gave the western world their first glimpse of life in the hidden kingdom



The photographs were painstakingly pasted into an album and stored carefully, passing down through his family over the years



The Council of four in the Potala palace. The fleeing Dalai Lama left these officials behind to negotiate with the British


Taken by a John Claude White, a political officer and joint leader of the expedition, the snaps passed to a soldier in the campaign,

Lieut. William Pyt Bennett.
The photographs were painstakingly pasted into an album and stored carefully, passing down through his family over the years.

They are now being sold at auction by Bonhams of London and are expected to fetch a whopping 15,000 pounds.

White entered the country as part of the British expedition to Tibet in 1903 and 1904, when British Indian forces sought to prevent Russia gaining influence in the country.

Led by Major Francis Younghusband, around 3,000 troops marched into the country, famously killing around 700 lightly armed Tibetan monks in the village of Guru.

They reach the capital Lhasa in August 1904, when the government signed a treaty effectively turning the country into a British protectorate.

The black and white photos show the mysterious landscape of the country, including Mount Everest, with pictures of Tibetans in traditional dress posing for the camera.


The spectacular Khamba Jung fortress: Younghusband's expedition was spurred by a fear that Russia was extending its power into Tibet



Expeditionary force camped under the Phari Jung fortress. The expedition was a bloody one as Younghusband was forced to fight Tibetan forces


Some even show the expedition itself, with rows of tents on the flat plains, and monks and nuns going about their daily routine.

David Park, director of book, maps and manuscripts at Bonhams, said: 'These are extraordinary photos with a rather fabulous provenance.

'They are the first pictures to come out of Tibet, which was a closed country at the time - in general British people could not go there.

'Indian and Nepalese traders were sometimes allowed in but in general they did not want outside influences or visitors.

'Britain decided they had to force the door open as it were, and launched a lightly armed military expedition.

'They had a military force of about 3,000, with another 7,000 camp followers with camels to carry things.

The end of Empire: Sikh and British soldiers with a Tibetan guide and a Yak train



Head monk of the Tashi Lama with Badulah, a Chinese ambassador (right)






Younghusband in Darjeeling on the eve of the expedition. The Tongsa Penlop, (right) a Bhutanese ambassador taken by the British to explain to the Tibetans that resistance would be futile, and later knighted



'There were military skirmishes but the British kept going until they reached Lhasa and a treaty was signed.

'These photographs were taken by a British political officer, John Claude White. He was not a professional photographer, but he was very good - they are cracking pictures.

'What makes these photographs ever more unusual is their provenance - they belonged to a man who was actually part of the expedition.

'They may have been presented to him or he may have bought them as a souvenir, and they have been in his family ever since.

'They really are extraordinary and they have an estimate of 10,000 to 15,000 pounds.' A selection of photographs taken by John Claude White in Tibet and Lhasa were published by Johnston & Hoffmann in 1906.

The pictures will be sold in Bonhams 'Travel and Exploration, India and Beyond' sale in London on Tuesday, October 5.


Read more: Tibet: first 1903 photographs of the secret kingdom to be auctioned off | Mail Online
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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amazeing photos ..thanks
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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wonderful pictures providing insight to a past time and culture. thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm amazed the fashion for wearing floor mops as wigs never caught on.

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Old 04-10-2010, 10:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I'm amazed the fashion for wearing floor mops as wigs never caught on.
you never been to brixham
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Interesting pics, thanks for posting.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nice post !
A bit of journalistic or auctioneers hype in it though ! ( probably to increase the auction price )
Many of the pictures in the 1960 published book ' Bayonets to Lhasa' by Peter Fleming are from The John Claude White collection .

Also the "famously killing around 700 lightly armed Tibetan monks in the village of Guru." is a bit of sensationalism as the Tibetians killed were the local conscripted peasant army.
The book has a full description, photograph of the Tibetian General ,aftermath, and a map of the battle plan and action.

Nevertheless I would love to see the complete album !

P.S If you are interested in the campaign, and you would like to borrow the book - PM me - I am just down the road from you Farang.
Cheers
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That is one hell of a trek, did they start from Calcutta ? tough men back in those days.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Set out from Siliguri ( near Darjeeling) in Bengal
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you, Farang Red.

Great thread. Great photos.
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Amazing buildings
Wish the chinese would leave tibet alone.


The lad at the front is the only man smiling in the whole series ,and he's got pompous dudes to his left and right .








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Old 05-10-2010, 06:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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good one FD
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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^^

Ingenious things - called an 'ekka'

Where there was a stretch of no road or track, they could be dismantled into 'yak- sized ' pieces - carried by the yak over the obstacle- followed by the load - reassembled and off you went again !

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Old 07-10-2010, 09:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Nice series, FR! Rarer historic images should be relished, as they often aren't. Well done!
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