|Spiti is a remote, inaccessible district of the Himalayas, lying to the south of Tibet (nowadays a part of Himachal Pradesh, India). Separated by high mountain ranges, it is vastly different from the regions which surround it. ‘Spiti’ means ‘middle land’ in Tibetan, the name arising from the district’s location between Tibet and India. Local people divide Spiti into four regions, based on aspect and elevation: Tam (the lower region), Pin (along both sides of the Pin River), Bhar (the middle region), and Tud (the higher region), where the traditional lifestyle is still preserved today.
Only three photographers are known to have passed through there in the nineteenth century. Philip Egerton was there briefly in 1863, but only took a few photographs. Samuel Bourne passed through in the early autumn of 1866, and finally, around 1869-1870, an anonymous photographer working for the Frith Series. No other photographer is known to have visited the area until the twentieth century, at least thirty years later.
Number 3275 in the negative in the lower left-hand corner. The previous image in the series, number 3274, is probably the village of Kibber. The following number in the series, number 3276, is definitely the nearby village of Losar. This photograph was therefore either taken in one of these two villages or somewhere along the Spiti River between the two, possible at Hanse.
The photograph is an albumen print measuring 6.5” by 8.3” (165 mm by 210 mm). It is mounted on an album page measuring 10.5” by 14.5” (266 mm by 369 mm).
condition: The print is in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The album page shows some foxing along its upper edge and to a less extent along two other edges; in addition,
the tip of its lower left-hand corner is missing.
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