Life in Vietnam

Wednesday, 20/09/2023 08:08

Việt Nam's 54 ethnic groups showcased on Google digital platform

Photos of more than 60 colourful traditional costumes of various ethnic groups across Việt Nam are being displayed on Google Art and Culture platform. Google screenshot

HÀ NỘI -  A collection of hundreds of high-quality photos depicting the culture and life of 54 ethnic minority groups across Việt Nam is being exhibited for the first time on the global digital platform, Google Arts & Culture.

The exhibition, titled "Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum" by French photographer Réhahn Croquevielle, includes vibrant photos showcasing over 60 colourful traditional costumes from various ethnic groups such as Dao, Bố Y, Ơ Đu, Phù Lá, La Hủ, Pu Péo, Pà Thẻn, and Si La.

It also features interesting stories and unique artefacts that the author collected during his journey throughout Việt Nam, discovering the beauty of the country and its people.

Information on each photo is provided in Vietnamese, English, and French. Images of 54 ethnic groups living in the regions of North, Central, and South Việt Nam, each with distinct characteristics, lifestyles, and customs, are vividly portrayed, enabling viewers to better appreciate the rich and diverse national cultural identity.

Smiling faces of the ethnic children in the northern mountain remote areas are reflected on Google Art and Culture by Réhahn, a French photographer. Google screenshot

In Réhahn's eyes, the North of Việt Nam is an area of stunning beauty, having travelled to the most remote parts of the country to photograph the ethnic groups and learn their traditional songs.

He was especially taken with the Si La people in their costumes adorned with silver coins, which are believed to bring luck.

Réhahn also encountered the Dao, Pu Péo, Khơ Mú, and Mông Hoa peoples, discovering that each has its own language, skills, and traditional attire. He expressed that while the northern mountain region might be remote and challenging to traverse, its captivating landscapes, colours, and contrasts have drawn him back time and again.

The photographer's journeys to the central and southern regions have been equally intriguing. He mentioned that in many areas, ethnic minorities live with scant opportunities to interact with foreigners, leading him to work there for many years.

Réhahn revealed that the most memorable encounter for him was likely with the Ơ Đu people, the smallest ethnic group in Việt Nam, numbering only 376 individuals.

Réhahn's online photo exhibition on the Google Arts & Culture platform also allows viewers to appreciate and learn about the indigo dyeing technique of the Dao, Nùng, Mông, and La Chí.

The dyeing technique imparts the characteristic green colour of the indigo plant and offers a process to create a non-toxic dyeing substance. It also encompasses weaving methods that have been handed down through centuries, such as harvesting hemp and batik design – a traditional handmade fabric with beeswax motifs using natural dyes. These techniques form an integral part of the culture, heritage, and in some instances, the livelihoods of ethnic minorities.

Additionally, the exhibition, accessible at, showcases and introduces various traditional local occupations, including the coffee production process of the K'Ho people and organic honey farming by the Cơ Tu.

After his initial exploration of the northern region, he devoted five years to immerse himself in the diverse, intricate culture and the delicate preservation of the cultural heritage of the ethnic groups.

Born in Normandy, France, Réhahn travelled to over 35 countries before choosing to settle in the ancient town of Hội An, which he regards as his second home.

Drawn to capturing images of diverse cultures and collecting traditional costumes and invaluable artefacts, he chose to renovate an old house from the French colonial period in Hội An. He transformed this dwelling into an art museum, dedicated to narrating the stories of Việt Nam's 54 ethnic groups.

He also made a profound impression on the hearts of the Vietnamese art-loving community through portraits in Việt Nam, Cuba, and India.

His career was accentuated with the release of a photo book titled "Mosaic of Contrasts" in 2014 in Việt Nam, followed by the exhibition "Ageless Beauty" at the Vietnamese Women's Museum.

His Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum houses the permanent display of Réhahn’s Precious Heritage Collection. While transporting viewers to the remotest parts of Việt Nam, the collection reveals the rich cultural mosaic of the ethnic tribes.

"Discover striking portraits, stories, and heirlooms that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Both a celebration and a call for preservation, this free museum, the only one of its kind, is a labour of love and respect. It stands as a testament to the connection, appreciation, and importance Réhahn feels for these remarkable tribes," states Google Art and Culture.

"Five rooms, covering over 500 sq.m in a 19th-century French house, display hundreds of portraits, over 60 costumes, tribal songs, and a sense of wonder," Google describes.

"As you explore each room, you can accompany Réhahn on his almost decade-long journey to document the 54 ethnic tribes and their subgroups remaining in the country." VNS 

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