To See Archive Database
The Lhasa Archive, consisting of photographs, research and surveys and architectural drawings is meant as a resource base for the promotion and further study of Tibetan architecture, and for the preservation of Lhasa City's precious heritage. We will make more photos and drawings available on-line in the future. All the pictures featured here, and more photos, surveys and maps of the recorded sites have been compiled by our project and are available to researchers and private users. Since THF / LAP is a non-profit organization, we will only ask handling costs and, depending on the case, perhaps a contribution to one of our projects. If you download pictures and maps from here, please mention our website as source.
Technical reports about our restoration works are also available on request. We are very interested to exchange practical experiences with other restoration projects, especially involving Himalayan architecture. The precious experience made with some of Tibet's best builders, carpenters, masons and painters since the mid-1990s is there to be shared with all interested parties. We wish to thank again all the project contributors, Tibetan, Chinese, Hong Kong-Chinese, German, Portuguese, Japanese, British, French, Swedish, South-African, Norwegian, American, Czech and nomadic.
The database sheets can be viewed most easily together with the downloadable map. The entries were made according to the following criteria:
THF number: in 1998 THF chose 76 out of 93 buildings (based on the LAP inventory of 1994) which became the first officially protected historic residential buildings in Lhasa.
LCR Official Number - the official municipal registration number according to the Lhasa Municipality Cultural Relics Office.
Aufschnaiter - the key according to Peter Aufschnaiter's 1948 survey
English transcription, loosely based on M.C.Goldstein's transcription of Tibetan family names in "A Modern History of Tibet"
Transliteration from the Tibetan according to the Wylie system.
according to the traditional neighbourhood names of Lhasa
Building colour :
white, red, yellow or plain (usually, only the houses of out-castes remained un-white-washed)
according to our typology of Tibetan buildings
(For more detailed information is "Tibetan Architecture" page.)
in the cases of recent monasteries and private homes built in the 20th century, accurate founding dates can be established. For the large number of sites beyond reliable human memory, exact dating is problematic. Tibetan written sources provide only circumstantial evidence in the form of mentioned or described activities. The official histories of the older monasteries, especially when describing events before the 11th century, must also be read with caution. For simplicity's sake, we have opted in this presentation for age brackets, determined by stylistical analysis and identified sources. All information is based on collected source material.
Architectural details are listed mainly if they are historic, and valuable for the understanding of the development of Tibetan architecture. Modern alterations are mentioned if they are essential for the character of a site.
The fields describing History and important historic person or institution associated are kept necessarily brief here. We intend to publish sources on vernacular buildings in a separate format, but any requests or comments and discussions concerning particular sites are welcome. The fields describing History and important historic person or institution associated are kept necessarily brief here. We intend to publish sources on vernacular buildings in a separate format, but any requests or comments and discussions concerning particular sites are welcome.
Architectural survey drawings
All our drawings were done by hand, based on detailed building-by-building surveys conducted as part of the Lhasa Old City Protection Working Group conservation activities. Plans, sections and elevations of more than 100 historic buildings have been compiled by THF, with surveys carried out by a mixed team of local draftsmen and international experts and volunteers. We have published some of the surveys already in our two publications, The Old City Of Lhasa Vol. I and II. The surveys have since been digitized, and the Archive also preserves original hand-drawings and measurements. A number of sites have been surveyed by the city authorities, and are identified as such. No survey plans have been invented.
The majority of pictures were taken between 1991 and 2001. We have chosen what we thought to be the most representative picture of each site out of thousands of digitzed photos. The name of a photo-file contains cataloguing information, i.e. NGA56_SE_94: the first part is the house code, the second describes the view, E standing for elevation, S for section and preceding letters for directions, and the last part refers to the year in which the photo was taken.
THF has identified individual buildings on many known historic photos of Lhasa. As we are still looking for pictures of a number of sites that no longer exist, we are interested in exchanges with owners of old photos.
See Archive Database