Hanoi exhibits show Vietnam old days captured by Indochina Governor

By Thu Thuy, Thanh Nien News

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Some 300 19th century photographs taken by Indochina Governor Armand Rousseau are on display at the National Library of Vietnam in Hanoi.
The photographs belong to a collection of photos taken during the governor’s mission to Indochina between February 1895 and December 1896.
They cover images of daily life in various localities across Vietnam, including Hanoi, Ha Long, Hai Phong and Tuyen Quang in the north, Hue, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet in the central region, and Saigon, My Tho and Tay Ninh in the south.
The collection features images of old architecture, markets and Hanoi artisans, a typical Vietnamese funeral, picturesque scenes of Halong Bay, festivities in different localities, the crowded harbor in Hai Phong, ritual performances in the old feudal capital of Hue, among others.
Professor Phan Huy Le, chairman of Vietnam Historians’ Association, said that the collection was a valuable historical resource for the country and had its own artistic value.
“For example, we have a lot of photographs of Nam Giao Offering Ritual ceremony,” Le said.
“But in these photographs, we can clearly see how people dressed and conducted the ceremony in 1895-96,” Vietnam News Agency quoted him as saying.
Also at the opening of the exhibition Tuesday, Jacques Rousseau and his wife, who represent Armand Rousseau’s family, presented the pictures as a gift to the National Library and the Vietnam Historians’ Association.
The exhibition, titled “Memory of Vietnam 1895-1896”, will remain on display until May 23. The library is located at 31 Trang Thi Street, Hoan Kiem District and is open from 8am to 8pm daily.
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