via The Saigoneer, 04 March 2021 and Watercolour World: A series of paintings depicting Vietnam in the 17th and 18th centuries, from the collections of The Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust. Some of the watercolours depict Hanoi and the Thang Long Citadel in the 17th century.
Now we can envision Vietnam well before the advent of photography.
The website Watercolour World has shared a collection of centuries-old watercolors depicting different aspects of Vietnamese culture, as well of different landscapes of what was then not even called Vietnam.
At this point we’re all familiar with photography from the 1960s and 1970s from the many foreign military service members who trained their lenses on local life when they were in the country. There is even a fair amount of work from the early 20th century to observe, though largely taken through the viewpoint of French colonists.
Going farther back, we often have to rely on the written word — which is great, of course: this website wouldn’t exist were it not for words. These watercolors, then, are a rare peek into what is today Vietnam as far back as the 17th century, which might as well be another planet compared to what we see today.