Saigoneer

Back Heritage » Vietnam » [Photos] Rare Photos of Hue From a Vintage French Publication in 1919

[Photos] Rare Photos of Hue From a Vintage French Publication in 1919

Hue is a city of empires, dynasties, armies, conquest and rule.

But while lords, politicians, rebels and generals vied for control of the country, ordinary people lived very different lives in the same city. They farmed, ate, prayed and played in the shadows of power. Sometimes, the city's imposing architecture that towered as manifestations of the nation's might served as background; visible but of limited daily importance. Other times, they carried on in the city's open fields, wide river and thick forests that remind us that man's dominion has limits in the face of nature. 

Hue has been a capital city since as far back as the fourth century, with its reach ebbing and flowing as different factions assumed control. Emperor Gia Long made it the capital of his reign in 1802, and it wasn't until French occupation that it would lose this distinction. Yet throughout this entire period, it has also been home to farmers, teachers, musicians, cooks and merchants. These photos, taken in 1919 by an unattributed photographer, tell their story. 

Published in a French book presenting French Indochina, they chronicle what appears to be a slow, traditional lifestyle. Take a peek below:

[Photos via RedsVN]

Partner Content