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Photos of Vietnam in the 1880s under French photographer's lens

09:22 | 28/08/2020

The traditional values in the life and culture of Vietnamese people some 100 years ago were captured in the old photo series taken by photographer Pierre Dieulefils.

precious photos of ancient hai duong vietnam a century ago Precious photos of ancient Hai Duong, Vietnam a century ago
a glimpse of tranquil ancient village in central vietnam A glimpse of tranquil ancient village in central Vietnam
heart warming moments of elderly vietnamese couple Heart-warming moments of elderly Vietnamese couple
photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Photos of Hanoi are included in a series of photos taken by French photographers in the book named "Indo-Chine Pittoresque & Monumentale: Annam – Tonkin". These images were taken in 1885 to expose Vietnamese culture during the French colonial period.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Traditionally, northern Vietnamese women in the 19th century often wear the iconic "Ao Dai" (Vietnamese dress) and big "quai thao" (a kind of traditional hat). "Ao dai nam pham" (five-part ao dai) were dedicated to rich women only, it's hard for the pooer to afford one.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Four officials of the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century were pictured as they were wearing Ao Dai in Hue Imperial Citadel. Design of Ao Dai under Nguyen Dynasty had to strictly follow the government's design. In particular, the top layer was embroidered with patterns of a phoenix, bat, and sun.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Royal servants carrying umbrellas and fans.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Performers of a folk theater troupe in Sai Gon, southern Vietnam. According to VNE, these performers often performed in the Mekong Delta region.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Warriors of the Thuong ethnic community in the central and southern regions.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

The notable Temple of Literature in downtown Hanoi puts on a different vibe in the 19th century under the lens of Dieulefils.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Hoan Kiem Lake

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

The courtyard of Thai Hoa Palace at Hue Imperial Citadel where Nguyen kings and functionaries once convened for political debate.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral in the 19th century. At that time, the cathedral didn't have the two bell towers as it is today. The two bell towers were actually added in 1985.

photos of vietnam in the 1880s under french photographers lens
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Dieulefils/ via VNE)

Pierre Dieulefils (1862 - 1937) was born and raised in Malestroit village of Bretagne, France. He went to northern Vietnam in 1888 and pursued his dream of becoming a photographer. In 1905, he traveled to Saigon, southern Vietnam and then to Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

In 1909, the photographers collected a set of photos on Indochina and published the book "Indo-chine Pittoresque & Monumentale: Annam - Tonkin". With the success of the book, he was crowned gold medal at the Brussels International Exposition of 1910. Three years later, he returned to France and focus on composing poetry.

Pierre Dieulefils died in his hometown in 1937.

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