11:40 | 25/05/2016 Society
Vietnamese researcher Thai Kim Lan is showcasing old, rare ao dai in her collection at an exhibition and installation which opened Wednesday evening in Hue.
Visitors wearing new ao dai view an old ao dai at the exhibition — Photos: Hue Phong/VNS
The ao dai in Lan’s collection were worn by Hue locals, including members of the royal family, in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Thai Kim Lan, a philosophy professor now based in Munich, Germany, said the exhibition of these costumes represented a return to traditions. These ao dai were worn by locals historically. And the ao dai coming back today represented tradition coming back to its roots, she said.
The Goethe Institute Viet Nam director Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch appraised Lan’s collection, crediting her for bridging the cultures of Viet Nam, where she was born, and Germany, her home country since she turned 16.
The theme of the exhibit is the return of tradition. The floor where the costumes are exhibited is made of bamboo shoulder poles. The poles provide a unique reminder that long ago Vietnamese women wore ao dai every day, even while carrying heavy loads with bamboo shoulder poles and baskets.
The highlight of the exhibition opening ceremony was the Vietnamese women, including Goethe’s director, dressed in an ao dai.
Being national costume when Viet Nam was a kingdom, now ao dai stays the national dress for important ceremonies and events.
“Ao dai makes me feel the most confident in dressing. I have a strong inner urge to learn about ao dai of the past. And today is a good opportunity to do so,” said lecturer Le Thi Nguyen, who arrived at the ceremony right after her class at Hue University of Sciences.
The exhibition opens until June 12 at the Hue Museum of Culture at #25 Le Loi Street in Hue City./.