French lensman Pierre Dieulefils captured images of daily life in Vietnam in the 1880s.
At the end of the 19th century southern women preferred “ao ngu than” (five-piece ao dai) and beaded jewelry. According to designer Sy Hoang, rich women used to wear this type of ao dai, with four layers representing the parents of the wife and husband and the fifth, the wearer. The tunic also had five buttons, symbolic of the five qualities everyone should have – nhan (kindness), le (decorum), nghia (uprightness), tri (wisdom) and tin (faithfulness).
These photos are in a book called “Indo-Chine Pittoresque & Monumentale: Annam – Tonkin”, by Dieulefils, who was a soldier in Indochina before returning to Vietnam in 1888to follow his passion for photography.
Southern women eat a daily meal. Rich urban people used to wear the ao dai to differentiate themselves from poorer ones. The ao ngu than was popular until the early 20th century, when another kind of ao dai with westernized features was introduced.
A Saigon official with long nails symbolizing intellectuals’ traditional exemption from manual labor. Many Confucians also believed that since their bodies were a gift from their parents, they had to keep it as unchanged as possible.
Members of the ethnic Chinese community (Hoa) in Saigon’s Cho Lon area prepare ducks for cooking.
Cho Lon was formed between the 17th and 19th centuries when ethnic Chinese and their offspring settled here and built a bustling area. When the French dominated the country, Cho Lon was a town distinct from Saigon. The two were combined in 1956. Currently it is Ho Chi Minh City’s Districts 5 and 6.
Funeral of a rich person in the south.
Father and son in northern Vietnam. Ao dai with banded collars were worn along with the traditional turban especially at important occasions such as funerals, weddings, etc. These ao dai had five buttons, usually made of ivory, bones, gold, silver, or bronze, depending on the social class of the wearer.
Family of an official in the north.
Officials used to travel on horseback with their attendants carrying parasols and other stuff.
King Duy Tan sits on a palanquin in central Hue Town. His original name was Nguyen Phuc Vinh San (1899-1945), and he ruled Vietnam from 1907 to 1916. According to “Vua Duy Tan” (King Duy Tan), a book written by Hoang Hien and published in 1995, the king was confident in dealing with foreigners and could speak French fluently despite his tender age.
Women of the Lo Lo ethnic community in the northern mountains near China’s Yunnan Province. Their traditional outfits include colorful turbans and long-sleeved shirts with square collars.
Members of the ethnic Tho community in Dong Dang District, northern Lang Son Province.
I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn.
I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law.
I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam.
In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship.
Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam.
I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN.
I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net).
I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries.
In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống).
In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success".
I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.
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