A Tibetan pilgrim prostrating in a street of old Lhasa. Probably he is turned towards the Jokhang Temple, the most important sanctuary of Lamaism, situated somewhere among the buildings.
Prostration, i.e. lying down on the ground, arms stretched out, is an important ritual in Tibetan Buddhism. It is a way of showing submissiveness to the gods and purifying the soul by ridding the mind of greed and conceit. Ideally a person should prostrate 100 000 times in a year, meaning about 300 times a day. Some pilgrims could prostrate their way around a sanctuary by falling down like you can see here, then standing in the spot where the hands were before, doing the same thing over and over again, slowly moving forward. Occasionally an entire pilgrimage could be spent prostrating towards the goal. It will take some time.
Since I took this picture more than 26 years ago I don't remember if the little boy accompanied the pilgrim, or if it's just pure coincidence that they were wearing the same colours.
Several more prostrators can be seen in a workshop. Both pictures from 1986 were scanned from Kodachrome slides.
Critiques | Translate
ACL1978 (7511) 2013-03-09 7:22
Hello Gert - intentional or not on the part of the boy and the man, the repetition of colors in this one really stands out. Not just in their clothing but also in the distant sign and in the bright reds and yellows to be found in the crowd. Really a vibrant scene, and another excellent documentary look at Tibetian Buddhism. Thanks!
eldancer1 (36343) 2013-03-09 7:46
Excellent capture of this religious ritual and I like your respectfull treatment of the event. Good lighting and sharp details. Wonderful colors. Well done, tfs.
abmdsudi (53009) 2013-03-09 8:23
I strongly believe that your patience is really paid off here waiting for the right moment to release the shutter, not only the prostrating figure catches attention instead you are presented with two strong catchy and heavy weight elements to pull all the eye in there. Interestingly nobody cares about the phographer as we get to enjoy the whole scene as well. Indeed a stunning street-people photography so well executed to perfection, Congrats
Sonata11 (33763) 2013-03-09 14:19
very beautiful composition of daily life scene. I like the decisive moment you captured. The colors, sharpness, clarity of details are fabulous. Perfectly well done. Tfs. Awesome !
All the best and have a nice WE,
tyro (24360) 2013-03-09 14:21
What an amzing collection of the most interesting photographs you have! It really is a joy to see new and different pictures every few days, each picture accompanied by a fascinating note which not only gives us facts but also tells of your experiences and memories.
And this picture (and the accompanying one in the workshop) are no exception: two wonderful photographs which portray the act of prostration perfectly - in the holy sanctuary and also in a city street.
Both photographs are excellent in their composition and their quality despite having been scanned from Kodachrome slides. But your main picture must be my favourite of the two - the man prostrating himself and the boy walking beside him wearing almost identical brightly coloured attire which stand out magnificently against the duller colours of the street.
Nicou (140002) 2013-03-09 20:22
quelle iamge et scène de moine dan la rue couchée sur le sole, quelle compo une très belle lumière, ces personnages splendide compo et image.
Bravo et amitié
Graal (102604) 2013-03-09 23:44
unusual scene. Good captured moment. Nice colours, superb scan. An interesting comment in note.
Have a nice Sunday.
emka (95161) 2013-03-09 23:49
Hi Gert, Impressive scene showing prostration (I didn't know this name). These colours of the man and boy are really striking feature here.
I will see my pictures from Tibet, not so good although made 20 years after.
have a nice Sunday
jemaflor (96009) 2013-03-10 0:19
An interesting street scene well captured, nice colors and light capture, well made.
saxo042 (37794) 2013-03-10 5:36
Detta är också en mycket intressant gatubild med ett annorlunda inslag. En välgjord digitalisering, mycket starka och fina färger.
pajaran (59503) 2013-03-10 14:05
Vrlo interesantan tekst o mestu i trenutku, sa datim podacima ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem, lepa fotografija.
Lepo secanje na posetu Tibetu.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje.
Very interesting article about the place and time, with the given data ...
Good work by scanning, beautiful images.
Nice memories of visiting Tibet.
Good evening and all the best.
ourania (44302) 2013-03-10 15:13
it's very interesting that, while in your previous photos from Lhasa people were facing or moving towards the lens, here we see them from a different point of view. You approached this and the other pilgrims in the workshop picture in a discreet but effective way giving us an idea about the ritual without distracting the holiness of the moment. I love the sweeping depth and perspective of this picture which is full of interest, movement, attractive bold colours and contrasts. You've managed the theme, the light and the colours superbly. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great week,
mohammad_H (9904) 2013-03-10 22:49
Hi Becky travel well, understanding the beliefs, customs, religion, and social relations, culture, and good sharpness beautiful colors, good looking you are, the documentary photographs, good luck
wolf38 (31296) 2013-03-10 23:54
Hello Gert. These old photos are a treasure trove. Especially this is important when it comes to Tibet. Such scenes remain in the memory of the viewer, because the land is changed by the Chinese rule.
Kamilutka (8105) 2013-03-11 8:22
if I hadn't read from your profile what your profession is I would have guessed by looking at your photos. They are perfect illustration for some articles - to be honest very often they seem to speak themselves. Captivating and moving.
The scene has been captured so well, the pilgrim seems to be so absorbed in what he is doing that he does not notice anything around. What is more surprising, nobody pays attention - I guess this kind of practice are observed on daily basis.
Great shot by all means.
Thanks for sharing
marabu61 (10775) 2013-03-11 8:22
To me it looks as if the little boy was just passing by but the coincidence of the clothes is striking.
Prostrating looks like a very tiresome way of worship, a proof of real faith.
This is a fine example of how dedicated people can live their faith, contradicting with the ignorant passer by's.
Waylim (25502) 2013-03-14 12:00
Hi again Gert,
...yes, I have a few of these shots too. The meaning of the word "faith" really didn't mean much until you see this people.
bayno (18344) 2013-03-15 0:50
Both picture is good Gert, this is also a great document of that time...now is totaly change the situation, i don't know mach about politic...some one say me that Tibet was always from china...i make more simple, i don't like border, for me we are all same....
Excellent work also with the note...
SnapRJW (31629) 2013-03-18 2:31
Hello Gert - Your Tibetan series is a fine overview of a lifestyle and environment far removed from my own. This shot reminds me of a festival we attended in Bhutan. There was a very frail old lady who prostrated herself in this manner before the huge silk Thangka over and over again. In the end I stopped counting but was moved by her obvious faith and reverence. I like the quality of this scan, the colours are good and there is a timeless quality to the scene. TFS and warm wishes Rosemary
nikkitta (17066) 2013-03-18 16:34
I have been in Tibet in 2011 and the same way of protrating or praying is seen not only in monasteries but along the roads sometimes and usually the pilgrims are alone, men or women
26 years after an all is the same, prayers, clothes , buildings, good documentary photo
Congrats and TFS
mkamionka (35840) 2013-03-20 9:38
very interesting scene. Except for an interesting pose, the believer has also colorful clothes which enhances the interest of the composition.
Great docummentary as usually.
Thank you for sharing,
Fis2 (96019) 2013-04-02 7:45
Good reportorial photo.
I like frame and colors.
I like this daily life shot.
daddo (26534) 2013-04-10 17:03
Hi Gert. I often think about all that penitence in most religions and all that "mea culpa". We only have one life- is it meant to be spent in such self denial or in savouring each moment of our brief time here. It's fine if there are merit points for the life to come., but what if this is the only life, our only conscious existence? I suppose you were in the right country to see belief and practice walk hand in hand, or crawl as the case may be. Great ambiance as usual. Best wishes for the coming week. Klaudio.
Vasa (515) 2013-04-18 1:17
The story could be developped about the boy. He pass like military and the same wearing are amusing coincidence. Today, maybe, he is a member of TE but we don't know. It is so worth seeing, dear Gert.
PS. I am leaving Belgrade for some weeks and will be without PC. but I keep Fuji.
Urs (14082) 2013-08-17 18:41
The same year but 6 months earlier I was in Tibet as well, coming from Nepal and staying in Lasah for more then a month, doing several features. I saws similar scenes as the one you photographed, it was a fantastic experience. Good scanning job. Warm regards