Living Viet

Figurative dolls in Hau Dong ritual’s costumes

The practice of the belief in Mother Goddesses has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2016.

A young girl named Do Van Anh, born in 1991 has depicted the cultural beauty of the practice on dolls in gorgeous and luxurious costumes.

In the garment store Van Anh Scarlet at 42F Vo Thi Sau, Hanoi, Scarlet's team of workers were working hard and passionately to make the "Four Palaces" collection. This is also the first collection of dolls in Vietnam that depicted the belief in Mother Goddess worship. The architect behind the artwork is Do Van Anh - Director of Van Anh Scarlet.

Nhà thiết kế Vân Anh gắn phụ kiện lên trang phục cho búp bê. Ảnh: Việt Cường/VNP
Van Anh sketches out a costume model on the desktop. 
The doll's face is done well with make up. 
Tại xưởng may Vân Anh và các cộng sự cùng phối hợp để hoàn thiện các công đoạn của trang phục búp bê. Ảnh: Việt Cường/VNP


After graduating from Hanoi University of Fine Arts, Do Van Anh started a small garment factory specializing in fashion for women. Although facing many difficulties in the process of branding and marketing, so far Van Anh has opened 7 stores in Vietnam.

Her main concern was how to bring the beauty of Vietnamese culture into fashion, Van Anh decided to spend time creating a collection of “Mother Goddess Worship Paintings”. Having followed the Mother Goddess religion for more than 10 years, Van Anh is very knowledgeable about the culture, especially the costumes of the Hau Dong ritual.

She draws every little detail in the costumes of the “Four Palace collection” on the computer and then implements the manual process with the participation of 20 workers to finish the dolls’ costumes.

Miss Sau Son Trang’s costume. 
A pair of boat-like shoes used in Miss Chin Song Son's costume. 

Beautiful patterns on a costume.

MissTu Phu's costume.
Miss De Tam Thoai Phu's costume.
The doll's face is done well with make up. 
Hands are elaborately shaped with brilliant costumes. 

Hau Dong ritual costumes are both diverse and unique. Each costume represents the characteristics of each goddess in the religion. Therefore, the colors used for each outfit are also flaring and unique. The material for costumes is embroidered brocade which brings the luxurious beauty and the nobility of the dolls. The other details such as necklaces, rings, and bracelets are all made of gold. On the doll's face, the highlight is the eyes with sophisticated and meticulous makeup.

A model in "Four Palaces Painting" is averagely completed in at least 2 months. Up to now, Van Anh has completed 16 dolls simulating the Vietnamese Mother Goddess religion. She is also planning to make smaller figures to display at airport shops and international hotels to spread the cultural beauty of Mother Goddess.

The dolls created by Van Anh are in great demand. Hopefully, having a love for fashion and culture, Van Anh will present her special collection to more international friends. Young people will also have a chance to discover the artistic beauty created by a Vietnamese talented designer.


Bài: Bích Vân, ảnh: Việt Cường/VNP, Tư liệu NVCC

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