Decorative Asian Works of Art / THREE BLUE AND WHITE VESSELS 19th-20th century (3)
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Collection of Professor Paul Mus (1902-1969), thence by descent
Professor Paul Mus (1902-1969), an influential scholar, political advisor, and antiwar activist, was born in Brouges in 1902. He settled in Vietnam at the age of five when his parents inaugurated the Collège du Protectorat in Hanoi. In 1919, he moved back to France to pursue university and post-graduate studies in philosophy, philology, and Southeast Asian languages. Eight years later, Mus returned to Hanoi to take a position at the Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient, where he embarked on important scholarship on Southeast Asian languages, ancient Buddhist temple sites, and Cham culture, and subsequently taught the history of Indian religions at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris.
During the Second World War, he served in France, Africa, and Vietnam, and earning two Croix de Guerre awards. Mus then served as the political advisor France's Indochine Committee and successive high commissioners to the region. In this capacity, Mus met directly with Ho Chi Minh in March 1946 to discuss France's ongoing role in Vietnam, and again on 12 May 1947 to present France's conditions for a ceasefire in Vietnam; the Viet Minh leader rejected France's position on both occasions. In the same years, Mus became director of the Ecole National de la France d'Outre-Mer and a professor at the Collège de France, both in Paris, before moving to the United States in 1951 to become a professor of Southeast Asian Civilizations at Yale University. In addition to academic contributions to the fields of Buddhism, comparative linguistics, and Southeast Asian studies, Mus was sharply critical of the dehumanizing and inhumane repercussions of France's colonial and imperial practices and published widely on the subject.