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Pictorial book offers glimpse into Nguyen Dynasty costumes

Pictorial book offers glimpse into Nguyen Dynasty costumes The publisher Omega Plus has released a book containing 54 illustrations of the official costumes of the Nguyen Dynasty, as created by painter Nguyen Van Nhan in February 1902 under the reign of Emperor Thanh Thai.

The original illustrations were watercolours measuring 23.1x31.8 centimetres each and were bound into an album, the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper reported.

The original works later embarked on a long journey around the world via various auctions, finally appearing in 2012 and being introduced to the public at the National Gallery Singapore.

The book, published by Omega Plus, is one of the few containing detailed descriptions of Nguyen costumes with beautiful and accurate illustrations captured from the original works currently kept in Singapore.

The illustrations by Nguyen Van Nhan are an important historical and artistic material about clothing during Vietnam’s last imperial dynasty, said researcher Tran Minh Nhat, who studied the paintings and wrote the book.

Nhat said the album has three major values. First of all, the illustrations offer a reference system for the artistic elements of Nguyen costumes, including the patterns, colours, layouts and spiritual meanings.

Secondly, the paintings demonstrate the quintessence of the Nguyen Dynasty, such as the art of making clothes, weaving, painting and imperial ceremonies.

Thirdly, the illustrations reflect the dressing culture and some aspects about the Nguyen court and Vietnamese society in its early period of exposure to Western arts./.