Photolibrary Collections

The EFEO's collection of photographs and glass plates constitutes an exceptional documentary resource (archaeology, statuary, architecture, epigraphy, ethnography, etc.) covering many different countries (Cambodia, Vietnam, India, China, Thailand, Laos, etc.). Based on photographs taken during archaeological excavations and expeditions carried out by the School since 1910, the collection gradually expanded thanks to a number of gifts (the Dalet, Bacot, Boulbet, and Bénisti holdings, among others). The photographs, most of them as yet unpublished, will all eventually be digitised.

The photographic collection is of major historic interest. Some of the images feature archaeological sites and monuments before they suffered the irreparable effects of war and pillage; used in conjunction with diaries from archaeological excavations, they make it possible to recreate the way in which restoration work and research was conducted on a day-to-day basis.

Some figures:

  • CAMBODIA: 30,000 indexed digital photos (archaeology, architecture, statuary, iconography, epigraphy, ethnography, etc.);
  • VIETNAM: approximately 7,000 photos (archaeology, iconography, museum collections, etc.) as well as 1,500 indexed digital photos of the Champa region;
  • CHINA: approximately 3,000 photos (archaeology, ethnology, art, museography, graphic documents, etc.);
  • INDIA: several thousand photos;
  • LAOS: 3,000 photos, of which approximately 1,200 dealing with ethnology;
  • SIAM: approximately 2,000 photos (archaeology, various sites, museum collections, etc.)
  • 7,000 glass plates - mostly of Cambodia and Vietnam - have been digitised (the H. Marchal, H. Parmentier, J. Bacot, L. Finot, Ch. Carpeaux collections).