The Last Cushion Creator of the Huế Royal Court

Lady Tri Hue, born in 1922, was raised in a royal family of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). She is remembered as a skilled craftswoman who loved creating royal pillows and wished to share her expertise with the next generation.

Lady Tri Hue, born in 1922, was raised in a royal family of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). She had the title of “Công Tôn Nữ” as the granddaughter of the Duke. Trí Huệ was a descendant of King Minh Mang, namely his great-granddaughter. Additionally, she was the descendant of Nguyễn Phúc Miên Lâm, who was the 57th offspring of King Minh Mang.

In royal palaces and among the wealthy, armrest cushions—sometimes called folded pillows or leaning pillows—were popular....Besides its cultural and historical importance, the armrest cushion is a symbol of good fortune and favors.

Lady Tri Hue enrolled in the Hue Citadel to acquire skills in sewing and embroidery when she was seventeen years old. She, like other Cong Ton Nu, got the chance to learn about the royal family’s hand-crafted arm pillows. Lady Tri Hue’s cushions were highly esteemed by both Duc Tu Cung and King Bao Dai. The king frequently requested her to create these distinctive pillows as presents.

In royal palaces and among the wealthy, armrest cushions—sometimes called folded pillows or leaning pillows—were popular.  Numerous folds can be opened and closed to suit your needs. These were used by kings and courtiers as a place to rest their heads, sit back and read, sip tea, write poetry, or debate state matters. Besides its cultural and historical importance, the armrest cushion is a symbol of good fortune and favors.

The family of Lady Tri Hue got back into farming in 1992. They began making a living by creating traditional long dresses, known as Ao Dai. Because cushions were no longer needed, Lady Tri Hue resorted to making them out of spare cloth as a way to remember her artistic talents.

Lady Tri Hue just peacefully passed away at 101 age, leaving a deep regret to everyone. She will be remembered as a skilled craftswoman who loved creating royal pillows and wished to share her expertise with the next generation. 

 

She will be remembered as a skilled craftswoman who loved creating royal pillows and wished to share her expertise with the next generation. 

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Hanoi countryside tales by traditional crafts

Today, drive an hour along the Red River to Ha Noi’s neighboring countryside through immense rice fields and fruit farms. Visit the village that birthed Vietnamese incense upon arrival. This village’s incense, made from over 30 herbs with skills passed down from generation to generation, is known for its pure, light scent. A guided stroll through the hamlet with older residents will take you to various family-run workshops to see the entire incense-making process and hear about the glory days of this traditional craft. Help the host make incense.

Take another short drive to a rural community behind endless rice fields and duck farms. The locals’ 200-year-old fish-pot crafting heritage includes bamboo weaving. Walk around the village to see the typical Northern countryside architecture: dark brown tiled roofs, three-room houses with elders sitting in front weaving fish-pots and chatting. Visit a local artisan who rode his bike across Vietnam to proudly promote his village’s unique traditional craft. Create your own fish pot with his help and give it as a present.

Notes:

  • Availability: Morning
  • Suggested time: 08:00
  • Duration: 6 hours

*Optional to add Nha Xa silk village
*Incense making at Thon Cao, Hung Yen. Fish-pot making village at Thu Sy, Hung Yen.
*Possible to have lunch at Hung Yen