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“Ao Tu than”- "four- part dress”

November 07, 2007          3665 views

The “Ao Tu than” or “four-part dress” is one out of several traditional Vietnamese costumes.

The “Ao Tu than” can be considered one of the oldest enduring Vietnamese cultural relics, having been worn widely by women from as early as the 12th Century on to the early 20th century. It was developed through the introduction of the Chinese Hanfu clothing.

As Vietnam expanded southward and slightly different cultures began to emerge between the regions, the “Ao Tu than” gradually became associated specifically with northern women.

“Ao Tu than” was the dress of commoner women, which explained why it was often made with plainer fabric and in darker colors, with the exception of special occasions such as festivals or weddings. While most modern “Ao Tu than” are extremely colorful, ancient Vietnamese apparently preferred more muted colors.

Regardless of its many different forms, the basic “Ao Tu than” consists of.

1800s Northern Vietnamese woman dressed in Áo tứ thân, with the "Non Quai Thao" hat characteristic of northern Vietnam

A flowing outer tunic, reaching almost to the floor. It is open at the front, like a jacket. At the waist the tunic splits into two flaps: a full flap in the back (made up of two flaps sewn together) and the two flaps in the front which are not sewn together but can be tied together or left dangling.

A long skirt, worn under the tunic.

Ao yem”, an ancient bodice worn as an undergarment by women. It comes in many shapes and colors, worn under the skirt and outer tunic.

A silk sash which is tied at the waist as a belt.

The dress as it is most typically worn today (almost exclusively in northern-related festivals) tends to be extremely colorful, using different hues throughout the dress, from the tunic to the bodice and the skirt.

The dress is now obsolete in terms of its daily use in Vietnam, but it can be seen often in traditional occasions such as festivals, especially in North Vietnam.

In South Vietnam, the simpler silk pajamas costume Ao ba ba is preferred for day to day use.

Source: Wikipedia.org

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