Vietnamese historian spends a lifetime collecting old maps

Historians in the News

Rare old maps are valuable evidence of long-gone cultures and dynasties. A Ho Chi Minh City historian has collected thousands to help him research for his books on the old Vietnam.

Vietnamese historian Nguyen Dinh Dau has spent more than half a century collecting over 3,000 antique maps.
His small room is packed with rare maps from all over the world and spanning 1,027 years of Vietnamese history, from the Ly, Tran and Le to the Nguyen dynasties.

The largest map in Dau’s collection is 1.3 meters by 3 meters in length and the oldest was drawn by an Egyptian in the fifth century for sea voyages.

He also owns a foldable map drawn by the French in 1009.

Dau has carefully categorized the collection by place and period.

Each map reminds Dau of a memorable experience because of the considerable effort he spent to acquire it.

Some maps were given to him as a token of respect, while some are copies of maps that he borrowed from a Paris storehouse.

Flea markets and second hand bookstores in Ho Chi Minh City have also been the scene of some exciting finds.

The old historian said these maps are not merely documents and diagrams - they are a looking glass into the trials and tribulations of the country’s past, opening up new worlds of knowledge about former generations’ lifestyles and culture.
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