Early German Travel Logues (1920's) - Three Silent Films

1920, 1926-1927

The films of the Tibetan film archive evening courtesy of Tibet Film Archive, New York.

Rare and unusual footage of dance, prayer, and chanting filmed by German documentarians filmed in the North East of Tibet in the 1920’s. Includes Cham dances at the Kumbum monastery as well as pilgrims earning money for their journey to a Tibetan Lama monastery.

Tibeter Tänze buddhistischer Pilger (Zentralasien, Osttibet), 1957, author R. Nebesky-Wojkowitz

Two pilgrim, a man and woman, in a pilgrimage to a lamaist monastery earn food for their journey by chanting and dancing. The man is wearing a mask of textile material and yak hair. He accompanies his wife’s singing with drum rhythms. In a later phase the woman reads chanting texts; the husband accompanies her on the big drum. In the second part of the film a group of five pilgrims perform a dance.

Tscham-Tänze in einem tibetischen Lama-Kloster (Kumbum Dschamba Ling), 1926-1927

This film shows extracts from the ‘cham-dances of the dGe-lugs-pa-sect, as they were performed in December 1926 in the monastery of Kumbum in North East Tibet. 

Feste und Gebete in einem tibetischen Lama-Kloster (Kumbum Dschamba Ling), 1926-1927

The long-range shots and close-ups of this film show the famous monastery of the Tibetan dGe-lugs-pa-sect. The most important sacred buildings are shown as are the inhabitants of the monastery discharging their relgious duties. There are in addition extracts from seasonal festivals and the religious instruction of the monks.