About this object

A well worn collapsible table, that is now secured with brackets. The top is lacquered red, with a floral decoration on the under edge. The apron has a repeating swastika motif. The table panels are carved in deep relief with two Chinese-style dragons facing each other, inbetween which is an overflowing dish of jewels. The side panels are carved with medallions filled with shou or good luck symbols, flower pods and foliage. It is likely that a majority of the table was highlighted with gold, but the table has either been over painted or the colours have faded and the colourings are now predominately green, brown and red.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Religion; Household Objects
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Lhasa
  • Date made
    Late 18th Century
  • Materials
    Paint; Wood Walnut
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    From the Collection of Sir Charles Bell
  • Collector
    Charles Alfred Bell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Berkshire: Crowthorne
  • Date collected
    27 March 1927
  • Measurements
    276 mm x 660 mm x 288 mm; 10 7/8 in x 26 in x 11 5/16 in
  • Note
    List of Curios No 284:
    7th March 1927. Given me by Palhese. Tibetan table. 26' by 11". Palhese says it is 150 to 200 years old, and was kept in Shar-yül, a small estate of the Pa-lha family at Lhasa, which was made over to Palhese's mother. The table was used often when going to the ling-ka, especially on ordinary occassions, as when going to bathe in the river in summer. After coming out of the water and dressing, the bather would recline by this table and take tea and fruit for half an hour to an hour. Then he would get up and go to the tent in the ling-ka, perhaps a quarter to half a mile away, and remain there fore the rest of the day. The bath in the river would be taken about midday. The table is of walnut wood from Kong-po, but made in Lhasa. Two dragons face each other with a heap of gems (nor-bu) between. Below the gems is an animal - or part of it - called dzi-par. Colour red, gold etc. Described by Palhese.

    Curator's note: Palhese came to England in 1927 and stayed for almost one year to work with Bell and to assist him in completing the book projects he was working on at that time. The diaries for this period say little of what Palhese did during this year, but are full of Palhese's proverbs and words of wisdom. We do know from Alex McKay's interview with Rongye Collett, Bell's daughter, that Palhese was taken on a visit to Windsor Castle. As usual he was wearing his Tibetan clothing and this apparently caused quite a stir!

    Written by Emma Martin
  • Related people
    Charles Alfred Bell (Collector); Palhese (gifted by)

Where is this object from?

Explore related


  • List of Curios

    Bell, Charles Alfred

    Author: Bell, Charles Alfred
    Description: A typed object catalogue from Bell's handwritten notes on a wide variety of objects from his personal collection. This information often contains, the date he obtained an object, its provenance (including where and who he acquired from) and the person responsible for giving him the information. The process of writing the inventory began in December 1912 and continued until the late 1930s.

  • Tibet: Catalogue of Exhibits

    Tankard, Elaine

    Author: Tankard, Elaine
    Publisher: Liverpool Public Museums
    Date: 1953-03
    Description: Introductory essay and catalogue entries, in themes, for the 1953 exhibition; 'Tibet', held at the Walker Art Gallery.

Object view = Humanities
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