History

Statue

The Indochina Years

The École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO), or French School of Asian Studies, was founded in 1898 in Saigon as the Mission archéologique d'Indo-Chine. The institution was created on the joint initiative of the Oriental Studies section in the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres and the colonial government of what was then French Indochina, the former envisaging scholars working onsite in Asia - along patterns already established by the French institutes in Athens, Rome, and Cairo - whereas the latter aimed to establish an authority that would be responsible for the inventory and preservation of the cultural heritage of Indochina.

In 1900 the Mission archéologique was renamed École française d'Extrême-Orient, and in 1902 the School headquarters were removed to Hanoi, with its main missions defined as archaeological exploration, collection of manuscripts, preservation of monuments, inventorying of ethnic groups, linguistic studies, and the study of the history of all Asian civilizations from India to Japan. To this end an ambitious academic programme, a library and a museum - which has since become the Vietnamese National Historical Museum - were put in place at the headquarters. Other museums followed: at Da Nang, Saigon, Hue, Phnom Penh, Battambang, and elsewhere. In 1907 the EFEO was assigned responsibility for the conservation of the Angkor archaeological site. This early phase of EFEO's work is still renowned for the contributions of many distinguished Orientalists: Paul Pelliot, Henri Maspero, and Paul Demiéville in Chinese studies; Louis Finot and George Cœdès in Indochinese epigraphy; Henri Parmentier in archaeology, Paul Mus in the history of religion, among many others.

Spread of the School

After 1945 a new period opened for the EFEO. Despite the war, and thanks to a real desire for scholarly cooperation with the newly independent states in the area, its members continued their work in continental Southeast Asia: ethnology, Buddhist studies, studies of language, literature, and above all archaeology, with huge reconstruction sites among the monuments of Angkor using the newly developed method of anastylosis. In 1957 the School was obliged to leave Hanoi, and finally, in 1975, Phnom Penh. During this troubled period the EFEO dedicated itself to widening its range of activities and developing new scholarly collaborations. In India, a permanent center was opened in Pondicherry in 1955 to carry out studies in Shivaite literature and the history of the art of the southern part of the subcontinent; later a branch of this center was opened in Pune. During the late 1950's a center was established in Jakarta for archaeologists and specialists in religious epigraphy. In Japan in 1968 the Hobogirin Institute in Kyoto brought together specialists in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, and, a few years later, a center was established in Chiang Mai for the study of the Buddhism of Southeast Asia. Distinguished scholars from this period include, among others, Jean Filliozat in Indian studies, Rolf A. Stein in Chinese and Tibetan studies, Bernard Philippe Groslier in the archaeology of Angkor, Charles Archaimbault in Laotian ethnology, and Maurice Durand in Vietnamese studies.

The EFEO in the 21st century

The end of the war and return to a degree of stability in Southeast Asia allowed the EFEO to reestablish itself in the region, in response to requests by several local academic and political authorities. The Ecole first returned to Cambodia in 1990, after the restitution of its former real estate in Siem Reap and the revival of archaeological and conservation work at Angkor. Three years later came the opening of a new Centre in Vientiane, followed by Hanoi where the EFEO acquired a new building and library and engaged once again in research and publication in the fields of history, anthropology and epipraphy. This return to the institution's roots did not slow the opening of new horizons, both geographical and thematic: new Centres were opened in partneship with local institutions in Kuala Lumpur (National Museum), Hong Kong (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Taipei (Academia Sinica), Tokyo (Toyo Bunko), Seoul (University of Korea), and finally Beijing (Chinese Academy of Sciences); in terms of research priorities, the period saw a marked opening to the Social Sciences and contemporary Asia: study of Indian commercial networks, the modern and contemporary demography of highland continental Southeast Asia, ehtnic conflict and issues of national and regional integration of minorities, the dynamics of religion in the contemporary societies of China, Thailand and Indonesia, the politics of national heritage conservation. At the beginning of the 21st century the EFEO participates actively in the digital transformation of humanities research and the growing internationalisation of Asian studies, and occupies a central position in the network of high-level academic partnerships in Asia and Europe developed since 2007 under the European Consortium for Asian Field Study initiative (ECAF).

EFEO News
Release of photographic collections
Paris, France,

4 179 photographs of the archaeologist Bernard-Philippe Groslier (at the EFEO from 1951-1975 and director of archaeological research in Cambodia from 1959) are now on line. These photographs were taken in 1952 and 53 during missions to Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Thailand.
Consult the Fonds Bernard-Philippe Groslier on the website www.collection.efeo.fr
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Conference of Mme CHEN Juxia 陳菊霞 et M. WANG Huimin 王惠民 Tuesday 16th May
Paris, France,

In the framework of research on Dunhuang conducted at UMR 8155 (CRCAO: Centre de recherche sur les civilisations de l'Asie orientale) and the EFEO, Ms. CHEN Juxia 陳菊霞 and M. WANG Huimin 王惠民,researchers at the Dunhuang Institute (China) will give two lectures:

- 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., M. Wang Huimin 王惠民: Le Grand vaipulya dhāraṇī sūtra du mur sud de la grotte 320 de Mogao 敦煌莫高窟第320窟大方等陀羅尼經變解讀
- Coffee break
- 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Ms. Chen Juxia 陳菊霞: Le sujet des peintures de la grotte 2 de Yulin 榆林第二窟壁畫內容新探

Maison de l'Asie, first-floor salon, 22 avenue du Président-Wilson, 75016 Paris
Contact : KUO Liying
Conference of Christophe Pottier Thursday, May 11
Paris, France,

Christophe Pottier gave a presentation entitled "Les premières Capitales à Angkor : Nouvelles techniques et méthodes d'investigation sur l'émergence de l'urbanisme angkorien", in the framework of the conferences organized by the Association française des Amis de l'Orient and the musée national des arts asiatiques - Guimet, Thursday, May 11, in the Jean-François Jarrige auditorium of the Musée Guimet.

From 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Free admission)

Auditorium du musée des arts asiatiques - Guimet, 6 avenue Iéna 75116 Paris
Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France,

On Monday 15th May Brice Vincent is speaking on "Le mercure au Cambodge : métallurgie, alchimie, médecine"

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (free admission)

Maison de l'Asie, first-floor salon, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
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New publication

La formation du Mahāvastu
et la mise en place des conceptions relatives à la carrière du bodhisattva  READ MORE
New publication

Empires en marche
Rencontres entre la Chine et l'Occident à l'âge moderne (XVIe-XIXe siècles)  READ MORE
Speech by Michela Bussotti on 3rd May
Paris, France,

Michela Bussotti gives a talk in the seminaire Savoirs et productions du monde au XVIe siècle. Lieux, acteurs, échelles of Jean-Marc Besse, R. Mandressi and A. Romano (EHESS) about the first Chinese books in Europe at the session entitled : Englober le monde V. Empires des langues. Grammaires, dictionnaires et organisations des savoirs sur le monde

EHESS, salle AS1_23 (1st basement), 54 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris.
On 26th April : International study day in homage to Dejanirah Couto
Paris, France,

On wednesday 26th April, an international study day in homage to Dejanirah Couto is arranged by Michela Bussotti (EFEO), François Lachaud (EFEO), Martin Ramos (EFEO) and A. Romano (EHESS-CAK), entitled L'océan des savoirs : histoires à la croisée des mondes (XVIe -XIXe siècle).

Alexandre-Koyré centre, salle de séminaire (5th floor), 27 Rue Damesme, 75013 Paris
From 9:30 am to 5:45 pm

François Lachaud and Martin Ramos speak respectively on: "Éloge de la curiosité : le monde des antiquaires dans l'Asie orientale et l'Europe modernes" and "Les réseaux catholiques dans le Japon des premiers Tokugawa (XVIIe siècle)".
Tuesday 25 April, conference of Prof. Huang Chin-shing, Vice-President of the Academia Sinica
Paris, France,

On 25th April at the invitation of the EFEO, M. Huang Chin-hsing, Vice-President of the Sinica Academy, gives a lecture on "Sage' and ‘Saint': A Comparison Between Confucianism and Christianity in Terms of Canonization".

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris
Free admission

This conference is organized by Paola Calanca (EFEO) and will be moderated by Stéphane Feuillas (Paris 7) and Vincent Goossaert (EPHE).

Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France,

On Monday 24th April Valérie Gillet is speaking on "La période obscure (the Dark Period) du pays tamoul entre les IIe et VIe siècles de note ère : mythe ou réalité ?"

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (free admission)

Maison de l'Asie, first-floor salon, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
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