The Royal Look

Discover the royal costume, style, and fashion under the Nguyen dynasty

By Quang Binh Tourism Department

Thua Thien Hue Province Department of Tourism

The Dragon Robe of Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945) by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Categories of royal costume were various in names and colors corresponding with different occasions of the court. Among them were outfits of the Grand Audience, Ordinary Audience, Ritual Ceremony, and daily activities. Each of them included the gown, bonnet, belt, slacks, tablet, boots or shoes that were all different in technique of making, name, color and ornamental design.

Under the Nguyen dynasty, many detailed regulations of costume for every class in society were promulgated and based on the criteria of material, color, technique of needlework, decorative design and even the quantity of costume. Costumes of the monarch were often attached with ornaments of gold, pearl or diamond to increase the value and solemnity. On the aspect of decorative topics, the hierarchical classification in the topic was followed strictly.

Emperor's costumeQuang Binh Tourism Department

Design of dragon was decorated on the Emperor's gown, unicorn design for the prince, flowers and phoenix design for the Queen and princess. The Grand Ceremony bonnet of the Emperor was attached with 9 golden dragons heading to the sky.

Emperor Bao Dai at the court meeting by Vietnam National Museum of HistoryQuang Binh Tourism Department

Emperor Bao Dai in great ceremony costume, wearing nine dragons crown, sitting on the golden throne in Thai Hoa Palace

Phoenix pattern embroidered on the queen's robe by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

The Queen's bonnet was decorated with 9 dragons and 9 phoenixes, meanwhile, that of the Empress Dowager was embroidered with 9 phoenixes. The phoenix number on the bonnet of concubines would be decreased to 7 or 1 following their rank in the harem.

Yellow Robe of Nguyen queens (2) by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Queen's gown, decorated with a grand phoenix

Queen Nam Phuong in royal costume by Vietnam National Museum of HistoryQuang Binh Tourism Department

Queen Nam Phuong in autumn winter clothes

Serpent Robe of the prince under Nguyen Dynasty 1 by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

The dragon, which appeared on the gown of the Emperor with 5 claws, was also decorated on the crown prince's gown in the motif of "dragon's face" with 4 claws. Images of a dragonish image called snake-dragon or serpent were used to decorate on gowns of the royalty.

Serpent Robe of the prince under Nguyen Dynasty (1802/1945)Quang Binh Tourism Department

The "Mang" creature, the lower form of a dragon, embroidered on the crown prince's gown.

Crown Prince Bao Long in royal costume by Vietnam National Museum of HistoryQuang Binh Tourism Department

Crown Prince Bao Long (Emperor Bao Dai's son) wearing 'sa kep' (casual cloth) and turban.

Empress dowager's robe by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

The design of circled phoenix was embroidered meticulously on the outfit of the Queen or Queen Mother, contrarily, it appeared simply on the concubines' gown with fewer ornamental accessories.

Pattern on Nguyen princess robe (2) by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

The decoration on gowns of the Emperor and the Queen were enriched by designs of Four-season Flowers and Eight Treasures. These designs were replaced by the design of Hundred Antiques in decoration on gowns of the royalty and concubines.

Princess robe (Doan Phuong Nhat Binh) by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Close-up on princess robe by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

emperor Bao Dai's bootsQuang Binh Tourism Department

Nguyen Royal costume consists of many different types, mainly divided into casual and formal ceremonial costume. Each costume includes: robe, crown, belt, pants, boots or slippers. Depending on the rank and position of the wearer, the decorations on the costume comes in different images and details for distinction.

Queen boots by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Credits: All media
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