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Sep 25, 2023 / 21:15

Vietnam's 54 ethnic minorities featured on Google Arts

Visitors can gain a deeper insight into Vietnam's rich and diverse ethnicity through the virtual photo exhibition.

Two hundred photographs of women in traditional costumes from 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups, taken by renowned French photographer Réhahn, are being displayed for the first time on Google Arts' online digital museum - Google Arts & Culture.

This portrait of a Red Dao woman was taken by Réhahn in Sapa, Vietnam's northern province of Lao Cai.

The photo exhibition of 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups called "Precious Heritage" is divided into eight categories, including the costumes and cultures of ethnic groups living in the north, south, central, and southeastern regions and the art of indigo cloth dyeing of ethnic people in northern Vietnam.

The captions are written in three languages-Vietnamese, English, and French-and introduce the different characteristics, lifestyles, and customs of each ethnic group, helping viewers better understand the diverse culture rich in Vietnamese identity.

Over nearly a decade, French photographer Réhahn researched and photographed all 54 of Vietnam's official ethnic minorities to increase the public's understanding of ethnic minority culture in the country.

Réhahn traveled to the country's most remote areas to photograph ethnic groups and learn their traditional songs to portray the breathtaking beauty of northern Vietnam truthfully.

The photographer was particularly impressed by the Si La people, who wear costumes filled with silver coins believed to bring good luck.

Réhahn met many people from different ethnic groups in northern Vietnam, including the Dao, Pu Peo, Khmu, and H'Mong. Each group has its language, skills, and traditional costumes. Each can be distinguished by its different textile traditions, especially the style of embroidery and ornamentation.

The Precious Heritage exhibition helps visitors discover striking Vietnamese portraits, stories, and heirlooms found nowhere else in the world.

"I am inspired by humanity in all its forms. Photography is an excuse to get closer to people and hear their stories. That's how I started out as a photographer, just meeting people and taking the time to talk to them," Réhahn said.

The photographer's journey in the central and southern regions is equally interesting. Réhahn shared that he has worked tirelessly for many years in ethnic minority areas with little opportunity to reach out to foreigners. The most special meeting for him was with the O Du people, the smallest ethnic group in Vietnam with only 376 people.

Réhahn was born in 1979 in Bayeux, Normandy, France. An avid traveler, he voyaged to more than 35 countries with his camera before settling in the coastal city of Hoi An. Vietnam and its culture have inspired him since he first visited the country on a humanitarian mission with the French NGO Les Enfants du Vietnam.

Réhahn's exhibition can be viewed at

The final collection of full-color portraits of tribal members in traditional dress, along with artifacts, traditional crafts, and stories, is now on display at the Precious Heritage Museum in Hoi An, Vietnam.