First pictures of the secret kingdom of Tibet taken in 1903 up for grabs

Posted By: Abdul Nisar
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London, Oct 4 (ANI): A number of pictures of the secret kingdom of Tibet that were taken in 1903 during a British Mission to the country has come to light for the first time and are to be auctioned off.

The pictures had been taken during the expedition of Edwardian adventurer Francis Younghusband, who marched into the country with around 3,000 troops in 1903-04, famously killing around 700 lightly armed Tibetan monks in the village of Guru.

John Claude White, a political officer and joint leader of the expedition had taken the 72 photographs, which featured local people, buildings and even a group of nuns gathered to smile for the camera.

They were then passed on to a soldier in the campaign, Lieut. William Pyt Bennett, and pasted into an album and stored carefully, passing down through his family over the years.

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.

"These are extraordinary photos with a rather fabulous provenance," the Daily Mail quoted David Park, director of book, maps and manuscripts at Bonhams, as saying.

"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.

"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," he added.

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

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