This photograph by Thomas Child, titled Mongolian Lama, is one of the earliest photographic portraits of a religious figure in Peking. In the 19th century, the term lama referred to any Tibetan Buddhist monk or teacher. The lama and his pupil both hold prayer beads and bundles of sutras in their laps. Displayed neatly on the table are bronze sculptures and sacred Tibetan ritual objects including a skull cup.
Photographs of Peking, now known as Beijing, made by Thomas Child in the 1870s and 1880s are to go on show in London’s Chinatown as part of Asian Art in London season.More than 30 original photographs from the Stephan Loewentheil Historical Photography of China Collection, the largest holding of historical photographs of China in private hands, are included in the show. During two decades as a resident, Child documented life in the city with his camera.
Source: Rare early photographs of Peking – BBC News