Old, rare ​ao dai displayed at the exhibition (Source:VNS)
Thua Thien-Hue (VNA) - Vietnamese researcher Thai Kim Lan is showcasing old, rare ao dai (national dress) in her collection at an exhibition and installation in central Hue city.

Lan’s collection of 12 costumes has been put up by German installation artist Veronika Witte. Thai Kim Lan had the collection moved to Germany with her when she left Vietnam for studies in West Germany in the 1970s.

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 Vietnam Director Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch appraised Lan’s collection, crediting her for bridging the cultures of Vietnam, 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 Vietnam 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.-VNA