Nguyen Era Vietnamese Books

Also in Huế, Vietnam, which I wrote about last week, I noticed several books in the Museum of Royal Fine Arts. There made from copper and silk. All of these books were from the Nguyen Era (1802-1945) but were not dated more precisely. I wish I knew more about Vietnamese book history, and if these materials were common or only used for special books.

These material extremes of leaf material are of interest: nothing drapes quite as well as a silk book, or as little as a metal one. The copper book is held together with four large rings, and the silk book is bound in what we usually call a Chinese style binding, stab sewn at the spine with the pages folded at the foreedge.

As I look back at these images, it seems the cooper book must also have a fold at the fore edge—for the repossé or chased decoration is on both sides of the leaf— or possibly the leaves were much thicker than I recall. I guess I need to go back to re-examine….

Hue 1

Copper Book. Huế Museum of Royal Fine Arts, 1802-1945

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Hue2

Copper Book. Huế Museum of Royal Fine Arts, 1802-1945

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hue3

Silk Book. Huế Museum of Royal Fine Arts, 1802-1945

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