Back Heritage » Vietnam » [Illustrations] This Set of Gouache Paintings Showcases Rural Life in 1890 Nam Dinh

Step into the life of a Nam Dinh resident in 1890 through this series of vintage paintings.

Collect pond snails with your bare hands, build a house using thatch and local trees, wear freeing and fashionably daring loincloths — in 19th-century Nam Dinh, the opportunities to be one with nature were endless.

This collection of 21 gouache paintings belongs to a cloth-bound hard cover album that dates back to 1890. While the author is unknown, his or her observant eyes have resulted in intricately detailed sketches of past agricultural activities and rituals in Vietnam, from a Buddhist ceremony to a crowded market session teeming with shoppers in black áo dài.

Here and there, glimpses of a class divide were also evident in the way a noblewoman is ferried around on a rickshaw, or a two-man mobile hammock. The colors used are muted and the sketches rather unpolished, but the human figures portrayed have great detail in their poses and costumes.

Have a closer look below:

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