Wednesday, November 7, 2018

18 Rare Photos of Northern and Central Vietnam in the Late 19th Century

I was wondering where my opium pipe went....:)

During the 19th century, postcards were one of the most popular forms of media that connected Vietnam with the rest of the world.

This collection of postcards, in particular, was taken by French photographers Pierre Dieulefils and Rigal and published in 1892. The photographers preserved a range of sights from northern and central Vietnam, or a more polished, touched-up version of them for the western perspective.

Under French rule, northern Vietnam was known by the name Tonkin while central localities were grouped under Annam. Dieulefils was probably the most prolific photographer at the time when it comes to postcards; he released some 4,800 of them in his career, most of which depict Vietnam.

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  1. The tales of a life in an exotic city replete with a long-established culture and societal benefits is in stark contrast to my mental picture of the region and time, a picture formed from news reports and accounts from men recently returned from Vietnam. Those accounts were of a bitter and violent conflict, military corruption and incompetence, and fear. Very seldom, with the exception of some films of the day, were there substantive discussions of the well-established culture and people destroyed by aggression; the stories of civilian life in Vietnam are part of a strong education on a difficult time.