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:>>Vietnam's Clothing - Guoc Moc sole sisters

Guoc Moc is footwear that imbued with symbolic meaning in Vietnam.  Ancient Chinese books record that in the third century, the leader of a Vietnamease resistance movement, Ba Trieu wore a pair of ivory clogs. However, up until the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400AD), most Vietnamese people went barefoot and clogs were not unknown.

Formerly, on cold days, men and women from rural areas would don clogs made from bamboo roots when attending festivals or visiting friends. At home they wrote wooden clogs with vertical straps to protect the toes.

In Phu Yen in south-central Vietnam, people generally made their own clogs. They favoured thick soles with slightly turned-up tips. The traps, which attached through a hole in the front and a pair of holes on the sides, were braided from soft cloth. Because the sole was curved at the front, the knot of the front strap did not rub on the ground.

The soles of women's clogs were shaped like hour-glasses, while men's clogs -known as "sampan clogs"- had straight soles. Made of white wood, Phu Yen clogs were left unpainted, while those from the central city of Hue were often painted in black and brown with a pale coloured triangle on the side of the sole. Only well-to-do men wore painted clogs. Some areas called clogs don, hence the saying "a foot with a shoe, a foot with a don" to indicate rich people who put on airs.

Up until the 1940s, young pupils at public schools in the southern province of Ben Tre wore clogs. Before the August Revolution in 1945, clogs produced in Hue were called "capital clogs" or guoc kinh. These clogs had soles made from coconut shells or light wood, painted white and gold with embroidered straps.

In the 1950s and 1960s, wooden clogs produced in Dong Do village in the Thanh Tri district of Hanoi and Ke Giay in Ha Tay province were taken to 12 Hang Ga street or Bach Mai street in Hanoi to be painted and sold.

From Ba Trieu's ivory clogs to clogs made of bamboo, wood and plastic, this humble footwear has covered a lot of ground on Vietnam.

Guoc Moc sole sisters Guoc Moc sole sisters Guoc Moc sole sisters

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