Dvongpon at Phari

A photograph taken in Phari, a village in Tsang province of southern Tibet. Shown is the village leader, a man of obvious influence and weath. He wears a sumputuous silk robe composed of Chinese brocade. At his feet is a traditional symbol of power, the pelt of a snow leopard. Hanging behind him are two religious paintings or 'thangkas'.

The photograph was taken by John Noel, a member of the British Foreign Service who was also interested in alpine expeditions and was the official photographer for the Royal National Geographic Society expedition to the base of Mt. Everest in 1922. He entered Tibet for the first time in 1913, disguised as a Moslem to scout a route to Mt. Everest, following the paths that Sarat Chandra Das had surveyed in the 1870's.