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.

The School's development after 1945

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
Kyoto lectures
Kyoto, Japan - Online, 19 July 2021

As part of the Kyoto lectures, DAIMARU Ken (Paris University) presents: "Health and Modern Warfare. Locating Medical History in Japan's Long Nineteenth Century".

19 July, 6pm (Japan time) in hybrid format or only on the Zoom platform. The password for logging in will be posted on the Kyoto Center's blog and the ISEAS website on the 27th.

Légende : Portrait of an injured Japanese soldier at the Liaoyang Stage Hospital (March 1905), archives of the Academy of Medical Corps of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force

In Memoriam: V. Venkataraja Sarma
Pondicherry, India, 16 July 2021
It is with deep regret that we learned today of the demise of Professor V. Venkataraja Sarma, quondam principal of Tiruvananthapuram Sanskrit College, who after his retirement worked for 29 years as a senior Sanskrit scholar at the Pondicherry Centre of the École française d’Extrême-Orient, finally leaving the institution in December 2016 at the age of 86.  On Wednesday, 14 July 2021, at the age of 91, he passed away in Trivandrum, where his son lives.
READ READ MORE
Covid-19 Information: new procedures of the library
Paris, France, 12 July 2021
How to access the EFEO library and the loan-return service

The EFEO library is open by appointment from Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. It offers a document lending and return service every Wednesday.
To make an appointment for THE READING SPACE: CLICK HERE
To make an appointment for the LOAN-RETURN SERVICE: CLICK HERE 
Please check the EFEO's Facebook page and Twitter account regularly for any updates to the terms and conditions of the public reception modalities.
New publication
Paris,

Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient 106 (2020)


READ MORE
Library inventories
Paris, France, 30 June 2021
EFEO Paris library just published new inventories on its website dedicated to description and gestion of archives and digital objects. Discover the collection of 66 manuscripts and printed documents in Hán-Nôm. As well as copies of registers of births, marriages and deaths of Notre-Dame-des-Anges Parish in Pondicherry.

You can also find inventories of caṃ, pāli, Siamese, Thai, thai yuan and thai lü manuscripts, and Cambodian paper manuscripts, which you can browse on the EFEO archive website and on Calames.
Kyoto lectures
Kyoto, Japan, 18 June 2021
As part of  the Kyoto lectures, Brian Ruppert (Kanagawa University) presents: "Scriptures and Their Deployment: Great Notes (Maka shō), Raishin’s Notes (Raishin shō), and the Sacred Works (Shōgyō) of Early Medieval Japan".

Friday, June 18, at 6pm (Japan time).
Video
Online, 17 June 2021
Discover the new video of the "EFEO's Asian Treasures"!
In "Vingt ans au Cambodge: Le fonds Madeleine Giteau" [Twenty years in Cambodia: The Madeleine Giteau collection], Bertrand Porte and François-Xavier André present the archives of more than twenty years of fieldwork in Cambodia, which arrived at the EFEO in 2009 thanks to Father Bernard-Jean Berger.
Photo library: Jacques Bacot collection
Online, 14 June 2021
The Jacques Bacot collection is now online. Discover pictures taken between 1903 and 1914 by one of the pioneers of Tibetan studies in France during his travels in India, Myanmar, Tibet or China.
XXXVIIIe Seoul Colloquium in Korea Studies
Seoul, Korea (Online), 10 June 2021
The XXXVIIIe Seoul Colloquium in Korea Studies, organized by the EFEO Center in Seoul, in collaboration with the Royal Asiatic Society, is led by Brother Anthony, Professor Emeritus of Sogang University and Full Professor at Dankook University, Seoul, on the theme: "Korean Poetry and Fiction in English Translation: A Personal Survey".

Thursday, June 10 at 6:00 p.m. (Seoul time), online: register with the EFEO Center to receive the information needed to connect. READ MORE
Fontainebleau Art History Festival
Fontainebleau, France, 04 June 2021
As part of the Fontainebleau Art History Festival, the Réseau des Écoles françaises à l'étranger present a round table on the topic of "Innovative Technologies in the Service of Archaeological Research".
Christophe Marquet and François Lachaud also make several speeches : → round table "La peinture française au Japon : histoire des collections privées et de la création des musées d’art occidental" → lecature "Éloge du primitivisme : d’autres visages de la peinture japonaise prémoderne" → round table "La "joie" et son expression dans les arts du Japon" → lecture "Le Japon et les intellectuels français: personnages en quête d'ailleurs"