Symbolism of Colour of the Vietnamese National Garment Áo Dài: Historical Foundations, Development and Interpretations

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Abstract

This paper is an attempt to analyze the color symbolism of traditional Vietnamese áo dài costume, as well as to identify and characterize the main reasons and peculiarities of transformations in this sphere. The symbolic model of color is considered in the context of language, socio-historical and cultural processes.

The focus is on women's traditional costume, as it has undergone far more extensive changes than men’s and has a much broader scope of use today.

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Introduction

A study dedicated to the historical development of traditional Vietnamese costume, peculiarities of its ornamentation and color symbolism has not yet seen the light of day in the national oriental studies. Nevertheless, there are several works that help to approach this subject in terms of theory and methodology. The main Russian-language works describing the structural forms of Vietnamese clothing and ornaments were published by A. I. Mukhlinov [Mukhlinov 1977: 80– 110] and E.V. Ivanova [Ivanova 2002]. Of great importance is the article of the Russian literary scholar N.I. Nikulin, specialist in Vietnamese studies, touching upon the issues of perception of national and European costume in the 18th - 19th cc. [Nikulin 2006: 388–400].

Foreign authors have addressed the issue of the history of Vietnamese clothing and weaving notably more frequently [Elmore 1997], [Nhi T. Lieu 2000], [Leshkowich 2003: 79-115], [Guillemot, Larcher-Goscha 2014], [ Howard 2016], but many topics concerning body culture and key aspects of its perception remain outside the focus of their attention. Among the studies in Vietnamese, the works of artist Trịnh Quang Vũ [Trinh Quang Vũ 2007; 2011], his student Đoàn Thị Tình [Đoàn Thị Tình 2006; 2010], historian Trần Quang Đức [Trần Quang Đức 2013] should be highlighted.

The work of researcher Phạm Thảo Nguyên [Phạm Thảo Nguyên 2018] on the evolution and modernization of women's áo dài is noteworthy.

There is also an acute shortage of works devoted to the history of the development of national dress of Han and small peoples of China in the domestic Sinology. The largest at the moment study of the structure and symbolism of Chinese costume saw the light more than forty years ago [Sychev, Sychev 1975]. An important contribution to the study of this topic was made by the Russian sinologist M.E. Kravtsova [Kravtsova 2004; 2010].

The works of English [Priest, Simmons 1934], [Steele, Major 1999], [Finnane 2008] and Chinese [An Yuying, Yang Lin 2005], [Su Zhin 2008], [Gao Chunming 2009] authors on the subject are very numerous and cover a wide range of issues from the earliest types of costume and decoration to the influences of traditional culture on the production and design of modern Chinese clothing.

The aim of this study is to analyze the symbolic content of the color scheme and ornamentation of the Vietnamese national costume áo dài and the changes that have taken place in this sphere of Kinh body culture in recent times. An attempt is made to expand the themes and methodology of research in this field of Vietnamese studies through an interdisciplinary approach, attracting both historical, cultural, religious, and linguistic material, which will, we hope, make it possible to study the developmental processes of Vietnamese society in greater depth and completeness.

***

It was not until the 20th century that the áo dài costume became the most widely used traditional dress of the Vietnamese. Up to the 1930s, the most common costumes in Vietnam were loose tunic-like suits, such as áo giao lãnh, áo tứ thân and áo năm thân (Fig. 1) [Đoàn Thị Tình 2006: 99–118]. The obligatory elements of the shoulder clothes were long semi-fitted or wide sleeves, a stand-up collar, and spherical buttons. In the thirties of the 20th century, well known Vietnamese artists and fashion designers, including Lê Phổ and Nguyễn Trí Cát Tường (alias Le Mur) were actively involved in the modernization of the national costume and its popularization among young people. As a basis for their experiments, they took the aforementioned traditional costumes, as well as an outfit that can be found in historical and literary sources under the very vague name of áo dài (lit. “long clothes”) [Cung Dương Hằng 2009: 37–38]. Lê Phổ and Cát Tường concentrated their attention on the female tunic, making its cut narrower and more elegant, thereby emphasizing the curves of the figure, which was completely contrary to Confucian notions of the body and the sphere of the corporeal in general. The changes in the design of áo dài and its perception by the society were so essential that, in our opinion, it makes sense to speak about a fundamentally new costume. At the same time the cut of men's costume did not undergo significant metamorphoses1.

The women's áo dài was presented to the general public as the material embodiment of a new era involving a dialogue between ancient Vietnamese culture and the West and European notions of beauty. The long double-flared tunic, monochrome straight-cut trousers and cone-shaped nón bài thơ hat not only became the peculiar “visiting card” of Vietnam but a symbol of tradition continuity. Based on modernized áo dài embodying archaic features of the national Vietnamese costume, borrowed elements of Chinese clothing, the influence of European fashion and not in the least become the result of the author's creativity, and will be considered a symbolic model of color.

Symbolic model of color in Vietnam

The challenges of color symbolism in clothing are directly related to the dominance of religious syncretism in Vietnam. The mixture and interaction of different inherently symbolic models of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Vietnamese folk beliefs created a complex, non- trivial situation in the sphere of material culture. All the above-mentioned religious teachings had a greater or lesser influence on the symbolism of Vietnamese clothing colors. Certain notions of symbolism and interpretation of one or another color have such a strong position in Vietnamese culture that they were almost completely embodied in the new national costume as well.

 

Fig. 1. A girl in an áo tứ thân costume with nón quai thao headdress. North Vietnam, late 20th century.

Photo from public sources

 

Thus, modern red áo dài began to be used as a wedding attire - both male and female, which fully corresponds to the ideas that dominated in the area of Chinese culture for many centuries, namely the concept of five colors - chinese wuse within the framework of the theory of wuxing, the model of the five primary elements [Kravtsova 2004: 365]. This philosophical concept was borrowed by the Vietnamese during the period of Chinese dependence (I–X centuries), but it concerned only the imperial court and the elite, the common people culture seemed to perceive the philosophy of wuxing indirectly and haphazardly.

Each of the elements of the wuxing classification is presented as something inextricably linked to the other components (cardinal direction – sacred animal – time of year – color, etc.), i.e. the “elements” can be seen as a set of certain first principles, by “resonating” with which the elements of “the same kind” are organized.

Behind each of the five wuse colors is a whole chromatic series, for which it is generic. Many colors in the Chinese symbolic system do not coincide with those that Europeans mean by their translated equivalents.

The red color (ancestric) Chinese hóng, Hanviet hồng is associated with festive attributes, especially with wedding ceremonies, feminine origin, fertility cult, semantics of the concept “beauty” of the primary elements [Ibid.: 366]. Another color of this chromatic series Chinese chì, Hanviet xích, Viet. đỏ has such equivalents as “red”, “scarlet”, “reddish”, “brown” depending on the context. The lexeme chì in Chinese often replaces hóng, which accordingly influenced the peculiarities of the use of the lexemes hồng and đỏ in Vietnamese. The color chì is included in the five colors of the wuse theory and is symbolically associated with the South, the sun, masculinity, good luck, joy, therefore red clothes, headdresses, shoes, and jewelry are considered by the Chinese and Vietnamese as markers of exceptional events and wishes of happiness (Fig. 2).

In modern Vietnamese, both lexemes, hồng and đỏ, are used in relation to wedding attire [Đoàn Thị Tình 2006: 153–154].

Chinese huáng, Hanviet hoàng, Viet. vàng - yellow (also golden) is associated with the symbols of the Center, land, emperor, and the idea of statehood [Kravtsova 2004: 165-166]. In Vietnamese the lexeme hoàng is more often used as an indicator of belonging to the imperial family or to denote various imperial attributes, rather than as an independent color definition, for example: hoàng ân – “imperial grace”, hoàng cô – “princess”, hoàng bào – “imperial clothes”, etc. [Glebova, Sokolov 2008: 290–291].

 

Fig. 2. Áo dài wedding costumes, Khan dong turbans. North Vietnam, early XXI century.

Photo from public sources

 

The symbolic meaning of yellow color as an imperial color can be traced in ancient mythological traditions and, first of all, is connected with the mythical emperor-demiurge Huangdi, who ascended to Heaven on a yellow (golden) dragon at the end of his life. The yellow dragon in Chinese Huáng lóng apparently combined the features of a sacred animal (ancestor and totem of the Chinese) and Emperor Huangdi himself, becoming a kind of symbolic quintessence of the idea of supreme power.

Following the Chinese emperors, Vietnamese rulers also began to wear robes with images of yellow dragons (ròng vàng) [Trần Quang Đức 2013: 34–35]. The Vietnamese monarchs used long bào (lit. “dragon clothes”), almost entirely similar to the Chinese lóng páo, as ceremonial attire until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1945.

The law forbade persons not belonging to the imperial family to wear yellow clothes. This regulation also applied to the shades belonging to the chromatic line, for which this color is generic. The earliest document known to historians concerning this issue dates back to 1182. Emperor Ly Cao Tong (1173-1210) “forbade all people to wear yellow clothes” [cited in Trần Quang Đức 2013: 42]. The frequency with which this supreme command had to be “renewed” suggests that the Vietnamese people did not have the same reverence for yellow as the Han Chinese and the imperial court of Dai Viet (1054–1400, 1428–1804), which sought to surround itself with sacred symbols of power that were fashioned in the image and likeness of China. Vietnamese medieval chronicle Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư (“The Complete Historical Records of Dai Viet”) contains a number of records dedicated to imperial decrees on the regulation of color symbolism. In 1448, Emperor Le Nhan Tong “issued the highest command to the Ministry of Ceremonies to reissue a ban on the wearing of yellow clothes, because the commoners' love for luxury had exceeded all imaginable limits” [Ibid.] In 1916 the Emperor Khải Định (1885–1925) also worried about the problem of his subjects not respecting the symbolism of color in clothing: “In the days when I was a prince, I was to observe how many commoners dared to wear yellow clothes, and this is a violation of the law. I therefore grant the highest imperial authority to the Thua Thien Office (Huế City, Capital District Office. – Yu. M.) to distribute a decree that from now on prohibits the common people from wearing yellow clothes as well as clothes in colors and shades similar to yellow, so that a proper separation is maintained” [Đồng Khánh 2010: 431].

The commoners who had the opportunity to make yellow clothes due to their wealth did so despite the official regulations. The neglect with which the Vietnamese regarded the imperial decrees forbidding the wearing of yellow clothes speaks volumes. Apparently, even the dependence on the northern dynasties, which lasted for nearly a millennium, could not instill in the common people a respectful attitude toward the Han-style clothing regulations. Those elements of the symbolic model of color in clothing, which were associated with the northern occupation and forcibly imposed from above as part of the ritual, were perceived as foreign even hundreds of years after the beginning of Chinese dependence. Yellow has also been associated with wealth, luck and good omens and has always been a favorite color of the nobility and common people. In the 19th century, well-to-do townswomen wore áo giao lãnh (a traditional shoulder-length t-shirt with long sleeves and a wide collar) and áo dài suits in yellow, pale yellow, and lemon colors, despite the fact that by this time yellow garments had been used by the imperial family for many centuries [Cung Dương Hằng 2009: 36].

Black color – Chinese hēi, Hanwiet hắc, Viet. đen - in accordance with the symbolic base of the five elements is associated with the North, the sacred black turtle, learning, education, intellectual achievements. If we talk about the concept of Yin-Yang, black is associated with the idea of something hidden, implicit, changeable [Kravtsova 2004: 368].

Black and navy-blue colors were widely used in the costume of Vietnamese Confucian scholars. However, black in the context of traditional Vietnamese clothing also existed irrespective of the concept of wuxing. Along with brown it was one of the most common colors for both women's and men's clothing. The dyes used to achieve the black or dark-gray hue of the fabric were cheap and easy to obtain, dark clothes were not staining and, according to some Vietnamese costume researchers, were pleasing to the common man's eye because they reminded of the fertile land [Cung Dương Hằng 2009: 37–38].

In the framework of the wuxing theory, the colors of the blue-green scale are associated with the East and acquire appropriate symbolic interpretations. The colors of this chromatic series are associated with vegetation, revival of life, spring, youth, auspicious beginnings, the element of water and femininity.

The character qīng, Hanviet thanh, Viet. xanh, and Viet. lam appear to have been originally interpreted as green, the color of tree leaves, but it can be used to denote a variety of shades of green and blue spectrum [Hán Việt từ điển 2004–2015: 12.01.2020]. In Vietnamese, the thanh element is a part of several semantically similar bilingual sinicisms. Blue-green became a synonym of youth, innocence, purity: thanh niên – “youth”, thanh xuân – “youthful”, “innocent”, “young”, thanh thủy – “transparent water” [Glebova, Sokolov 2008: 610].

As the green color represents femininity, any combinations of green and red (a symbol of courtship, entering the age of marriage and wedding festivities) have erotic symbolism. Particularly often within the poetic tradition, the image of a young and desirable girl is created through descriptions of red sunbeams gliding over green water, and red flower buds among green foliage. These images can be seen in a quatrain by the Vietnamese poet Ngo Ban Phu.

Hibiscus

The lantern glows among the green leaves,

His soul is full of ancient meekness.

The flower petal is precisely non-tilted,

A gentle blush is its depth

[Ngô Bản Phụ 2017: 94].

The blue-green scale is the most complex from a coloristic point of view as it embraces the entire spectrum of greens and blues as well as partially grey and black. In Vietnamese it is not possible to understand without context and clarification what shade is being referred to, so one often finds such frequent explanations as “tree foliage” (lá cây), “sky cover” (da trời) etc. following directly after the lexeme by which the color is designated. One more reference color of this chromatic series – Chinese. , Hanviet lục, Viet. xanh or xanh biếc – green, turquoise, bluish, most often used to denote the color of different vegetation, sea water, sky [Kravtsova 2004: 367].

The clothes of lục and thanh colors have been widely used in Vietnam since ancient times by both nobles and commoners. During the Later Ly dynasty (10091225), i.e., the period of active domestic political reforms that followed the final expulsion of the troops of the Song Empire from Vietnamese territories (938) and the long struggle for the unification of the country, much attention was paid to the ordering of imperial and official attributes [Trần Quang Đức 2013: 49–52]. The main principles of dress regulation were established and further developed at that time, which subsequently came to be considered traditional and lasted until the middle of the twentieth century.

In the times of the Revival Le dynasty (1533–1788) blue-green clothes were worn by officials of the sixth, seventh ranks and city officials (only the rank stripes were distinguished), blue and black suits were worn by county officials as well as officials of the ninth rank [Ibid: 49-52]. In the era of subsequent dynasties, a similar correspondence between the rank and color of clothing was observed.

The common people also liked clothes in blue, blue, and green shades. It is known that both men and women during the Later Li dynasty liked to wear robes with wide sleeves of lục color. A green belt and stripes of green cloth were a must in many village costumes, including the áo tứ thân costume.

In the beginning of the 20th century Vietnamese women wore soft blue dresses of áo giao lãnh and áo dài taking turns with dresses of contrasting colors one on the other. Dresses of the green leaf color are very rarely worn by the Vietnamese for purely aesthetic reasons as the bright green color “makes the face yellow” and gives a visually darker tone to the skin which is considered undesirable.

The white color – Chinese bái, Hanviet. bach, Vietnamese trắng - according to the wuxing model is associated with the symbolism of the West, autumn as a time of decline and extinction, the sacred animal white tiger and the element of metal. White is often interpreted as the color of mourning, grief, bad omens associated with near death or disaster, but this understanding of the symbolism of bái, even within the wuxing can not be considered exhaustive. The autumn was associated by the Chinese with the white grains of rice, a corresponding interpretation is given by the text of the ancient Chinese dictionary Erya: “Autumn is the white baize” [quoted from: Sychev, Sychev 1975: 22]. At the same time, the West, associated with the white color, more precisely the color of the moon Yuè bái, is not only the place where the sun sets, “dies”, but also the Land of the Dead, where the souls of the deceased go.

There is an opinion that white was adopted as a mourning color because since olden times, as a sign of mourning for the deceased, they wore clothes of coarse, unpainted cloth, which symbolized ascesis and abstinence from worldly goods. It seems that here we should speak of white as the absence of color as such.

In Vietnam the custom of wearing white clothes during funerals and mourning has been known at least since the Later Ly dynasty (1009–1225) [Đoàn Thị Tình 2006: 158]. At different times and for each occasion, whether it was a funeral ceremony, a commemoration ceremony of the first year and subsequent years, there were different types of costumes, but all of them were sewn from coarse colorless fabric. Nowadays, mourning clothes include a cloak with a hood of translucent gauze, which is worn over a black cloth (usually Western style), and a piece of white thick cloth about 30 cm wide and more than 1 m long, which is wrapped around the head in the manner of a turban.

Ornaments and images of sacred animals

Even though the modernized áo dài was a fertile ground for experiments of modern fashion designers from the very beginning, this costume was also one of the ways to preserve the traditional aesthetics of the national clothing ornamentation. The tunic (especially women's tunic) is often decorated with ancient Vietnamese ornaments, patterns, and images of sacred animals.

Of the eight sacred animals bát vật revered by the Vietnamese (dragon, unicorn, turtle, phoenix, carp, bat, crane, tiger) the dragon seems to be depicted on the áo dài tunic more often than others, both male and female [Nguyễn Văn Ký 2004: 27–28]. The dragon, a symbol of power, prosperity and well-being, pairs with the phoenix, which is interpreted as an expression of the concept of Yin - Yang. On a female áo dài one can often see images of a crane (in different interpretations - a heron, a stork) – a symbol of peace, happiness, and good omens, and on a male (which is also typical for Chinese costumes) - an ornament in the form of the hieroglyph “longevity” inscribed in one or several circles [Sychev, Sychev 1975: 77]. Often this sign is placed in a looped pattern woven of five images of bats, which are also associated with the wish of happiness.

The most ancient ornamentation that can be found on the áo dài tunic is the images of the discs of Dong Son drums, ritual objects of the Bronze Age (1st millennium B.C.). The disk of a cult drum was a concentric model of the Universe with the sun-star in the center, the world of the dead, the world of the living, the world of people and animals, where images fixed the cult, relations between community members, ways of economy and objects of worship [Deopik 1994: 3132]. The drum-shaped drawing, as a rule, consists of stylized images of two or three disks, arranged vertically and covers the tunic from the waistline to the end of the front floor.

Changes within the symbolic clothing color model

The most important changes that affected the symbolic model of the color of the áo dài costume were related to the ways of demonstrating wealth and social status, which underwent drastic changes in the first decades of the 20th century. Along with the quality of fabric and decoration, the most important marker of social status and an indicator of material well-being was the number of suits worn at a time, especially when it came to women's clothing. The degree of social activity and involvement of Vietnamese women in the economic life of the country in the 18th.-19th. centuries was quite high. The woman's duties included going to the market, meeting guests, taking care of relatives, maintaining good neighborly relations, preparing religious and family celebrations and many other things that implied frequent appearances in public. A woman's attire was seen as a material expression of her father's, husband's or son's wealth and social status (Fig. 3).

 

Fig. 3. Women from a wealthy family in áo năm thân costumes. North Vietnam, 1910–1920.

Photo from public sources

 

While the Vietnamese Catholic priest Philippe Binh (1759–1832) described that poor peasants could hardly provide themselves with at least one set of clothes [Binh 1968 : 34], the wealthy wore several tunics (or robes) - one over the other. Prosperous Vietnamese women of the 19th and early 20th centuries wore three, seven or nine áo dài tunics at a time. Young girls more often wore top suits of light shades (cream, blue, pink), while married older women wore tunics of dark colors – brown, black, purple [Cung Dương Hằng 2009: 36]. The lower tunics were usually bright, contrasting shades: light yellow (Viet. mỡ gà), rich pink (the color of lotus petals, Viet. cánh sen), lemon (Viet. vàng chanh), blue, azure (Viet. hồ thủy), etc. The bottoms of the tunics were only visible during movement, which created the effect of color overflow, besides, the row of buttons from the collar to the armpit were often left unbuttoned to show the shades and textures of the undergarments. In the first decades of the twentieth century this custom began to gradually disappear, which was due to the fall in fabric prices. By the middle of the 20th century the layered clothing as an indicator of wealth and social status had completely lost its relevance.

The abolition of state laws regulating the use of various costumes for different estates also played a role in the perception of traditional color symbolism. After the abdication of Emperor Bao Dai and the abolition of the monarchy in 1945, the imperial clothing regulations lost their official force and, notably, were quickly forgotten, as they mainly concerned the officialdom. Wealthy people who had previously disobeyed the law forbidding the wearing of yellow suits could now do so without violating the will of the governor.

However, the main reason for the changes in the interpretation of color symbolism in clothing was the familiarity of Vietnamese with the European costume and their gradual perception of various elements of the Western fashion industry. The well-to-do Vietnamese townswomen of the early 20th century imitated French women and then some generalized image of a modern European woman.

White has undoubtedly undergone the most dramatic changes in the context of application and, consequently, in terms of meaning in the twentieth century. In the 20s of the 20th century, the white áo dài with a semi-fitted cut started to be used in a fundamentally new way - it was chosen as the uniform for many women's educational institutions after the practice was introduced at the Dong Khanh Girls' High School in Hue City, which opened in 1917 [Lê Quang Kết 2015: 14.01.2020]. The white color of the dress became associated with innocence, youthfulness, neatness, and discipleship. Unlike dark-colored suits, so popular among peasants, white áo dài required special neatness in handling and became a kind of “behavioral report card” (Fig. 4).

 

Fig. 4. A girl in a modern áo dài costume. North Vietnam, early XXI century.

Photo from public sources

 

In the mid-50s brides in North Vietnam, following the European fashion, began to wear white áo dài at the wedding ceremonies [Đoàn Thị Tình 2006: 155–156]. The bride's wedding costume most often consisted of a tunic of fitted white, cream, or soft pink color, white straight cut trousers and white high-heeled shoes. The hair was styled in the European manner: it was curled in small curls, fastened with barrettes, or left loose, which was considered unacceptable a few decades ago [Nguyễn Văn Ký 2004: 27–28].

In the South, the fashion for white wedding dresses for girls and Western-style suits for men came at least a decade earlier. In the early 1980s, Southern women first wore white Europeanized dresses with puffed skirts and veils. The mentality of southerners who gravitated toward foreign fashion (and foreign novelties in general) contributed to the rapid assimilation of material culture elements that were foreign to Vietnamese culture [Cung Dương Hằng 2009: 39–40].

In the early twenty-first century, women's costumes, which occupy some intermediate position between the traditional áo dài costume and the European white wedding dress, began to be used in wedding ceremonies. Such a costume, as a rule, preserves the characteristic features of the cut of both parts of the costume - wide trousers and tunic - but the sleeves and collar are often subject to significant changes. In addition, a veil may be used together with the white áo dài [[Xu hướng] áo dài cưới: 14.01.2020].

The perception of white as the color of wedding attire is firmly entrenched among young people in the big cities of Vietnam – Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Nha Trang. The fact that the white color appears in the wedding ceremony exactly in the context of national, not European costume, deserves special attention. The assimilation of elements of a foreign culture in this case occurs through its incorporation into something familiar, which society interprets as traditional, indigenous Vietnamese. It is not uncommon for the bride and groom to appear before the family and guests in two outfits - both in Western costumes and wedding áo dài traditionally red or deep pink.

By the end of the 20th century in Vietnam there were universal notions about the color of a costume's áo dài according to the sphere of using the costume, age, and gender of the owner. It is believed that girls 14-18 years old are best suited for suits in delicate pastel shades. Girls and unmarried maidens up to 25–27 years prefer bright colors and ornaments. Women over 50 years of age appear on holidays and official events in velvet tunics of purple, black, brown, decorated with embroidery and applique [Những mẫu áo dài: 12.01.2020].

At the turn of the XX-XXI centuries áo dài began to be actively used as a uniform of service sector workers - waitresses, hotel personnel, tourist guides. As a rule, they are monochrome suits of blue, lemon-yellow, pink color without decoration and ornamentation.

It is safe to say that as a living and organically functioning element of material culture, áo dài continues to evolve; its symbolic model of color, which is closely linked to the features of decoration, undergoes continuous changes.

 

1 For more details about the sphere of use of áo dài costume see: Minina Yu.D. (2016). Sphere of use of traditional Vietnamese costume in the late XX - early XXI centuries. Southeast Asia: Current Problems of Development. M.: IES RAS, 30: 175–187.

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About the authors

Yuliia D. Minina

HSE University

Author for correspondence.
Email: yminina@hse.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3737-9478

Lecturer, Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies

Russian Federation, Moscow

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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
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1. Fig. 1. A girl in an áo tứ thân costume with nón quai thao headdress. North Vietnam, late 20th century.

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2. Fig. 2. Áo dài wedding costumes, Khan dong turbans. North Vietnam, early XXI century.

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3. Fig. 3. Women from a wealthy family in áo năm thân costumes. North Vietnam, 1910–1920.

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4. Fig. 4. A girl in a modern áo dài costume. North Vietnam, early XXI century.

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