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Bhutia man from Lachung in North S[ikkim]. Long braid is typical [for] men


Bhutia man from Lachung in North S[ikkim]. Long braid is typical [for] men



Photograph shows a Bhotia man, half-length portrait, standing, facing front, holding hat, Sikkim.

Photographer's stamp on back of print.
Forms part of: Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs (Library of Congress).
Gift; Dr. Alice S. Kandell; 2010; (DLC/PP-2010:106).

Alice S. Kandell is an American child psychologist, author, photographer and art collector interested in Himalayan culture. She worked extensively in the Indian state of Sikkim as a photographer, capturing approximately 15,000 color slides, as well as black-and-white photographs, between 1965 and 1979. She initially visited Sikkim in 1965 to attend the coronation ceremony of Hope Cooke, an American woman who married Palden Thondup Namgyal, King of Sikkim. At his request, she started a photograph project to illustrate how he and his wife favoured education and local businesses in Sikkim to benefit its culture. She is the author or co-author of two books, (with text by Charlotte Salisbury), and a book for children, called Sikkim: The Hidden Kingdom. Her private collection of Tibetan art was covered in A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection of Tibetan Sacred Art, by Marylin Rhie and Robert Thurman, with photographs by John Bigelow Taylor. In 2011, she donated a collection of Tibetan art to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian, and about 300 pictures to the Library of Congress.

From the 8th century, people migrated from Tibet to Sikkim in small numbers. But during the 13th century many clans came with Gyed Bum Sa, and thereafter there was a series of Lamas who visited southwards, because of the constant conflicts between Red hat and Yellow Hat in Tibet. With the final victory of the Yellow hats in the mid-1600s. There was a mass persecution of the followers of the Red hat sect by the victorious Güshi Khan and his Gelug allies. Many fearing the same fate as their Red hat brethren fled southwards towards Sikkim and Bhutan. In consequence, there are Red hat majorities in both Bhutan and Sikkim to this day. They migrated through the different passes ("La" in Tibetan means "hill") in the Himalayas. Geographical indications in the Bhutias' last names are common. In Northern Sikkim, for example, where the Bhutias are the majority inhabitants, they are known as the Lachenpas or Lachungpas, meaning inhabitants of Lachen or Lachung respectively. Bhutia aristocrats were called Kazis after similar landlord titles in neighboring regions, especially in modern-day Bangladesh. This feudal system was an integral part of the Chogyal monarchy prior to 1975, when Sikkim was an independent monarchy; the ruling dynasty of the Kingdom of Sikkim before the mid-1970s plebiscite was the Bhutia Namgyal dynasty. Among the Bhutias, the Lachenpas and Lachungpas have their own traditional legal system called the "Dzumsa" which means the meeting place of the people. The Dzumsa is headed by the village headman known as the Pipon. People of North Sikkim have been given full protection by the state government by deeming a status of Panchayat ward and the Pipon, a status of Panchayat head.





Kandell, Alice S., photographer


Library of Congress

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