Tag Archives: Photo archives

Vietnam in historic photographs

The National Overseas Archives in Aix-en-Provence have opened up to the public an online database called Ulysse, thereby making a variety of digitised materials from the Archives and their library available for research. Begun in 2002, this database contains individual photographs or albums, postcards, posters, drawings and maps.

These materials document on one side the history of French colonial empire, but on the other side they are a rich source for the study of Vietnamese traditions and everyday life in historical perspective. The materials mainly originate from public records (state secretariats and departments that managed colonies from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth century, general government offices, etc.) and private archives, but also from donations, purchases, and bequests.

A keyword seach for Vietnam returned almost 400 results, of which most were photographs from the 1940s. Interestingly, they do not only document Vietnamese traditions and everyday life scenery, but also the culture of ethnic minorities in Vietnam. The Cao Dai religion and their rituals are well presented in this collection, as well as the cultural traditions of the Tai in North Vietnam and the Chinese in Saigon. A selection of photographs from this wonderful online database can be found below.

Mobile barber shop at Camau

Mobile barber shop at Camau

Vietnamese children playing traditional games

Vietnamese children playing traditional games

Construction of a boat at Camau

Construction of a boat at Camau

Chinese funeral procession in Saigon

Chinese funeral procession in Saigon

Students exiting the Lycee Calmette in Saigon

Students exiting the Lycee Calmette in Saigon

Theravada Buddhist temple near Nguu Son

Theravada Buddhist temple near Nguu Son

Theravada monks at their temple near Nguu Son

Theravada monks at their temple near Nguu Son

Cao Dai temple interior in Tay Ninh

Cao Dai temple interior in Tay Ninh

Superior Pham Cong Tac in his ritual costume at the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh

Superior Pham Cong Tac in his ritual costume at the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh

Cao Dai musical group in Tay Ninh

Cao Dai musical group in Tay Ninh

Tai princesses, the daughters of Deo Van Dai

Tai princesses, the daughters of Deo Van Long

Tai religious ritual

Tai religious ritual

Tai dancers

Tai dancers

View of Cholon

View of Cholon

The Ulysse database can be accessed free of charge.

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