Viet Nam Women’s Museum

We went to the Viet Nam Women’s Museum the other day. Wow……. very nice. Really interesting. I’ll be posting quite a few pictures so I won’t comment on every one, but let’s go on a tour together……







3This impressive display went up and up and up.  It’s made from painted non la (those conical hats).  I didn’t even realize it at the time.  I was showing these pictures to my students and one of the boys mentioned it.  Cool, huh?


← I thought this was sort of funny.  It’s one of those “stick your face in the hole and have someone take your picture” things, but I immediately noticed that when you look through the hole, you see into the bathroom!









←  ↑  These are scales that women used to use to sell fruit, veggies, grains and such on the street.  You still see these here and there, but you also see more modern scales now …..well, somewhat more modern, anyway.  In reading some of the displays, it’s just so humbling to learn how little these women make every day.  They are commonly from villages outside of Ha Noi, but can’t make any money there, so they come to the city for months at a time, away from their families.  They sleep in housing with 10 other women and work incredibly long hours.




The first section had to do with weddings and marriages…….









……and items worn at the ceremony…






….by the women…..




…..and the men….







……and wedding gifts.



You have no idea how much I wanted to dig through this basket and pull out all the beautiful fabric!


Copper pot →
(Remember ~ double click to see full view).







Here are a couple of wedding dresses, believe it or not.  I think they are absolutely lovely.  There are so many wedding shops here in Ha Noi which sell the most unbelievable dresses ~ white, fluffy, lacy, rhinestone encrusted fairy gowns.  I find these ‘gowns’ simply beautiful.








To the right are Toaist paintings having something to do with couples wanting children…….



…..the hard way, I guess…..







….what these things have to do with “purifying the newborn”, I’ll never know……


Herbs for health and cleansing.







The theme seemed to sort of ramble from this point on, but here’s what I saw…….


← Copper Candlestick


Basket for carrying wood →





29More beautifulness.  (:

Going upstairs to the next level, you see this image on the window ….


…..and the continuation of the non la display.

This section addresses women’s roles in war.


31I found this particularly interesting because I live in Hai Bà Trưng District in Ha Noi.  Hai Bà Trưng translates to “Two ladies Trung” and it’s named after the Trung sisters who fought against the Chinese for 3 years around 43 A.D. and are considered national heroines in Viet Nam.

34This image really caught my eye ~ she is so very young.  My students knew quite well of this girl and spoke of her with great respect.








← Nun’s robes.










I love these old propaganda posters……

….this one in particular…… ↓




….it says, “Nixon owes a debt of blood.”

40←  This is just a shadow which  I thought was a bit more interesting than the actual display!              41





I really liked this trunk ~ it looks nearly identical to the one I’ve had for years that belonged to my dad ~ from World War 2!


The next floor up was almost completely costumes and fabric…..I was in heaven.


I tried and tried ~ there was glare at every angle…..this was the best shot I could get of this yem ~ basically, a bra. →














← This is for keeping the hair up in a bun or chignon….






…..and this is a wedding headdress.  Amazing craftsmanship…..craftswomanship, that is. →



← Now that my hair’s getting longer, I want these hair pins ~ they’re gorgeous!


These earrings were enormous. →






I rarely ever wear jewelry, but I think I’d start if I had some of these items.  I just love silver.


I asked my students about this.  I’d always heard that the reason for black teeth was chewing betel leaves.  But that’s incorrect.  Betel leaves stain the teeth brown, not black.

54Tooth blackening was done purposefully because it was once believed that only wild animals and demons had long white teeth and they did not want to be mistaken for them.  So at puberty, the three day process of tooth filing and blackening was begun.  (I’ve copied and edited the following from a website which explains how it’s done):  Red sticklac, a resin obtained from secretions of a tiny aphid-like insect, was used as a dye. This was diluted with lemon juice or rice alcohol, stored in the dark for a few days and then is applied with pressure to all the teeth. This will then react with an application of iron (mainly from iron nails) or copper from green or black alum and tannin from Chinese gall to give a blue-black color and an insoluble coating.  This tradition is, of course, dying out ~ at the very least, in the big cities.  One of my students said with embarrassment that her grandmother had dyed teeth.  I thought it was sad that she was embarrassed, but I guess it’s normal for a teenager to feel that way.  Well, the women in the pictures seem happy enough, anyway!

4 thoughts on “Viet Nam Women’s Museum

  1. My teeth aren’t brown and yellow from neglect and bad hygeine. It was a three day process so people wouldn’t mistake me for a wild animal.



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