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The Art Book That Delves Into the History of Ancient Vietnamese Fashion

Born at the intersection of fashion and history, a new art book by a team of Vietnamese researchers and creatives will take readers on a journey back to the eras of the country’s past royalty.

In 2018, we wrote about Det Nen Trieu Dai, or Weaving a Realm in English, when the project was in the middle of a crowdfunding undertaking on the fundraising platform Comicola. Thanks to ample interest from netizens, the book was successfully sponsored to the tune of over VND200 million from many backers.

Flash forward two years later to today, and long-time fans of the project can finally get their hands on the much-anticipated book. According to Comicola, the art book features 224 colored pages, written in both Vietnamese and English, and will retail at VND250,000.

The content is divided into many chapters, each centering on either a specific attire, a class of costumes worn by royal court officials, or even past beauty and makeup styles. They provide basic information on the sartorial techniques of the royal costumes, accompanied by illustrations from artists of the period or photos of real replicas made and styled by the authors.

Readers will learn about the forms and how to wear items like the Giao Linh (cross-collared robe), Vien Linh (round-collared robe), Doi Kham (parallel-collared robe) and even robes reserved for the emperor and empress. Through perusing the book, the audience will gain insights into ancient court attire of the Early Le period (1428–1527).

According to Vietnam Centre, the team of creators behind Weaving a Realm, the conception of the book came on the heels of mounting interest from young Vietnamese in ancient Vietnamese culture. Using known works on local historical fashion by academics like Dr. Doan Thi Tinh and scholar Tran Quang Duc, they distill the information into a digestible and attractive format that would appeal to young Vietnamese.

As Vietnamese millennials studying and working abroad, the members of Vietnam Centre have always felt a sense of anguish over the fact that, in the eyes of the world, Vietnam tends to be merely reduced to its association with the American War.

“When it comes to Vietnam, only the War comes to mind of international friends and even many Vietnamese, and nothing else. That fact tremendously pains us, as a brilliant culture with thousands-year-old tradition can be so arbitrarily defined by a war that took place not so long ago,” the book’s preface reads.

Weaving a Realm, therefore, aims to shine the limelight on a less-known corner of Vietnamese history that’s no less fascinating and revelatory. Apart from getting young Vietnamese and keen foreigners interested in local history, the authors hope that the book can also serve as reference material for designers and artists working on period projects.

Vietnam Centre was established in 2017 by a group of Vietnamese millennials. It’s a nonprofit whose mission is to create a global network of physical centers to promote the culture of Vietnam across the world.

Det Nen Trieu Dai is available for shipping within Vietnam. You can order here (Vietnamese order form) or here (English order form).

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