Beyond its purely aesthetic or illustrative status, photography is a valuable source for the historian, but is rarely used as such, in contrast to other types of iconographic sources (About and Chéroux 2005). This is the case of the photographic archives representing the Tibetan army from 1904 to 1959, scattered in various public and private funds in Europe, Asia and the United States, which, despite their wealth, have not been the subject of any kind of exploitation or investigation.
The presentation will present the first results of an ongoing research on the visual history of the Tibetan army, based on the systematic collection of these photographs, their integration into a database and their critical analysis within the broader framework of A collaborative research project on the history of the Tibetan army during the Ganden Phodrang period (1642-1959) (ERC Starting Grant No. 677952 TibArmy, https://tibarmy.hypotheses.org).
We will show how these photographs can contribute to building a better understanding of Tibetan military history during this period, from an institutional, political, social, cultural and material point of view, crossing them with other types of sources .