About this object

A circular breastplate with convex silver plate or mirror, at the centre of the mirror a gilt 'universal sound' has been attached. The mirror is surrounded by a deep gilt copper alloy disc finished with repeating foliage designs in repousse work. The disc is set with turquoise and the central top setting holds a facetted ruby red piece of glass surrounded by small pieces of turquoise. Rainbow silk streamers similar to khatag or offering scarves are attached to the base of the disc and silk tablet woven cords in red and yellow are attached at the top in order for the wearer to tie it around their neck.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Lhasa
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Textile Silk; Yarn Silk; Glass; Copper Alloy; Silver; Metal Gilt; Turquoise; Wax
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from the collections of Norwich Castle Museum, 1956
  • Collector
    John Claude White
  • Place collected
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Lhasa
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    1125 mm x 185 mm
  • Note
    Curator's note. It is difficult to say for certain how John Claude White acquired this breastplate. He did take looted items during the Younghusband expedition, but he did have contact with the Nechung Monastery in 1904 and this may have been a Tibetan gift made out of necessity or etiquette. Original label attached with cellotape reads, 'Machung mon. Lhasa, Tibet 1904'.
  • Related people
    John Claude White ( Collector)

Explore related


  • Mission to Lhasa 1903-1904

    Start date: 1903
    End date: 1903
    Description: The British Mission to Tibet during 1903 and 1904 was an invasion of southern Tibet by British Indian forces on the pretence of negotiating trade relations between Tibet and British India. However, this was instigated primarily in the hope of preventing the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a base in one of the buffer states surrounding British India. The expedition was led by Colonel (later Sir) Francis Younghusband. It had a damaging effect on the British reputation, many Tibetans were killed and monasteries and houses were looted and/or destroyed along the way. The 13th Dalai Lama feld Lhasa before the arrival of the expedition and Younghusband negotiated, a soon to be repelled, convention with the Tibetan government or Kashag in Lhasa that was signed in the Potala on 7 Septmber 1904.

Object view = Humanities
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