Introduction History Museum
The building, formerly the Louis-Finot Museum, was associated with l’Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient, a scholarly organisation concerned with archaeological, historical and ethnological research. During the French period, this organisation fought to preserve and in some cases to restore Vietnamese temples and pagodas, as well as Vietnam’s archaeological heritage in the form of the brick Cham temples and stone sculpture in the south. The History Museum was the masterpiece of architect Ernest Hebrard, winner of the Prix de Rome in 1904, who was responsible for several
The History Museum was the masterpiece of architect Ernest Hebrard, winner of the Prix de Rome in 1904, who was responsible for several fine buildings during the colonial era, borrowing from the repertoire of Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer architecture. Here he adopted a whimsical mixture of classical French, Vietnamese community house
(Dinh) and pagoda (Chua), the Asian architectural features in keeping with the building’s original use and now, its current function.Hebrard, more than any other architect, created what has come
Developing History Museum
Hebrard, more than any other architect, created what has come to be known as the eclectic Indochinese style architecture. The central core of History Museum, which rather resembles a pagoda, is octagonal, from which the galleries branch out like streets from a roundabout. The wide, overhanging two-tier, tiled roofs over the external galleries
The central core of History Museum, which rather resembles a pagoda, is octagonal, from which the galleries branch out like streets from a roundabout. The wide, overhanging two-tier, tiled roofs over the external galleries form the dominant feature, echoing domestic architecture, the deep eaves providing shade for the rooms within. The crisscrossed supporting beams in the style of temple architecture, give the galleries the impression that the roofs are
Bao Tang Lich Su with Ecole Francaise d Extreme Orient a scholarly organisation actually floating. Along the galleries, by employing slim, round, double columns to resemble wooden posts, Hebrard was able to use brick and plaster in a way common to vernacular architecture.
Charles Batteur, architect and professor at l’Ecole des BeauxArts, took charge of the detail of the numerous drawings and acted as site manager. Held up by over-running its budget, the building was not completed finally until 1931.
Exhibits inside the History Museum are arranged chronologically, starting on the ground floor, working up through
Bronze Age drums of the Dong Son culture through Cham pottery and sculpture, lacquered Buddhist statues, pale green celadon ceramics and a few of the wooden stakes from the thirteenth-century battle victory of the Bach Dang River when military hero Le Loi of the restored sword defeated the Chinese.
Upstairs, the exhibits relate to the last feudal dynasty, the Nguyen, who abdicated as recently as 1945: embroidered silks, gilt and inlaid ivory furniture, watercolours of Vietnam’s last imperial court and a photograph ofHue’s citadel in 1932.
To see History Museum that Hebrard used as his artistic laboratory, his first in Hanoi, we need to have a look at the University of Indochina, nearby. But first, let’s cross the street and take a sharp left from the History Museum to the entrance of… working up through.
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