List of Curios No 267:
Per K. Palhese on 4th August 1913. One tall yellow china vase. 200 to 300 years old. From Teng-gye-ling Monastery.
Curator's note: Likely to have been sourced by Palhese as Bell notes that he discusses politics with Palhese on 5th August 1913 in his diary. Tengyeling Monastery situated within the sights of the Potala had a very strained relationship with the Dalai Lama and his circle. As early as 1896 the Demo Rinpoche who had been Regent of Tibet (Tengyeling was one of the four monasteries that could provide a Regent) was found guilty of planting paper amulets in the soles of the 13th Dalai Lama's boots in order to do him harm. The punishment was, amongst other things, the confiscation of Tengyeling Monastery's wealth and belongings. During the 1910-11 Tibetan-Chinese war in Lhasa. Tengyeling offered help to the Chinese and as a result the monastery was destroyed in 1914 and all its remaining possessions confiscated.
David Macdonald in his book, Twenty Years in Tibet wrote of the Tengyeling treasures, ' I saw of the treasures formerly owned by Tengyeling, and they are priceless. Wonderful examples of Chinese porcelain, gold-work, carved jade and turquoise, and many very finely painted and embroidered religious banners were stored in go-downs sealed by the Devashung. Many pieces have been stolen by traders, and have found their way to India, but there are still several hundred old Chinese carpets stored there. No Tibetan monastery, as a rule, will sell its property, which finds its way on to the market only when stolen by the lamas'.
Written by Emma Martin