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Costume of the Ly dysnasty

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Costume of the Ly dysnasty

Bài gửi  Yukin on Thu May 10, 2012 8:09 am


As the Ly Dynasty rose to power at the turn of the first millennium, a new civilization flourished, influenced from Southeast Asian Buddhism and ancient Vietnamese culture. The costumes of the time reflect the development of a truly Vietnamese identity.

In 1009, Ly Cong Uan took the throne, marking the foundation of one of the most prosperous monarchies in Vietnam’s history, the Ly dysnasty (1009-1225). Taking the name Ly Thai To the new Emperor moved his capital to Dai La, a land lying in the center of Red river Delta with ideal feng shui position. It is said that the Emperor caught sight of a dragon soaring up, and renamed the capital Thang Long (Flying Dragon). This is the site of present–day Hanoi.

Initially a Buddhist monk, Emperor Ly Thai To actively bolstered Buddhism. He granted ceremonial costumes to monks and built several new pagodas. In 1016, the king converted 1000 Thang Long citizens to Buddhism, while in 1024, ambassadors were sent to China to obtain the Tibetan Buddhism canon.

Artifacts and historical accounts point out that the popular style of Buddhism costumes in this era were the one-shouldered robes influenced by Southeast Buddhism from India, with flapped shirts and interlacing collars in the ancient southern Vietnames style. The Emperor also promoted monks as advice-giving Chamberlains, a practice originated in the Dinh and Pre-Le dynasties (968-1009). A work by the master painter Li Gonglin depicts a group of Ly ambassadors to China wearing Buddhist-style attire.

After gaining independence from China, Vietnam (then called Dai Viet) brought itself closer to Southeast Asian cultures. Emperors from the Dinh, Pre-Le and Ly dynasties employed skillfull artist from the thriving Champa culture. Palaces, urban roads and pagodas were built and decorated in a vernacular style unique to Vietnam, so as to revive the nation culture and reduce Chinese influence after centuries of Han colonization.

Many extant palace sculptures and religious statues serve to illustrate the costumes of aristocrats and monks of the time. The “The Ton” Buddha statue in Phat Tich Pagoda, Bac Ninh is prime example. The Buddha is depicted wearing the traditional Vietnamese “yem” undergarment, plaited cloth belt, parted tunic and loose sleeves. The Buddha is seated on a lotus pedestal whose petals are carved with Ly dragons.

Sculpture in the Ly dynasty displays mutual influences from Vietnamese and Champa arts. Dancers’ costumers depicted in Chuong Son tower, Nam Dinh, were of great variety, with short sleeved silk shirts, sheath dresses, plaited cloth belts and flying scarves. Dancers in Long Doi pagoda are portrayed wearing shirts in the ancient Nam Viet style, silk scarves and 11th century dresses. Musicians’ costumes also vary from shirts and dresses to sheath sleeves worn while they were playing traditional string instruments.

Many Vietnamese people in this era wore their hair long, with turbans. Peasants favored hammerhead turbans skewed to the side of the head, wearing short hair or loose long hair. Men wore five-flapped black shirts and short pants, and women wore Yem, short skirts, four-flapped tunics and interlacing collared shirts. Ly costumes under Buddhist influences were characterized by simple styles and mixed colors.

Emperors wore the Crown of Heaven. Its upper part was rectangular, with 12 pompons in the front and 12 five-colored pompons in the back, and the crown was adorned with corals and pearls that symbolized 12 months of the years. Emperor’s coats featured coiling dragons, loose sleeves, curving upper sleeves and white or cotton-made flat collars. Their belts were broad with golden or jade buckles, and on their sides lay hanging emeralds or sapphires. Emperor’s boots had upwardly curving tips, flat heels and straps exclusive to Emperors only.

Source: Heritage Fashion Newspapers - Dec 2011-Jan 2012


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