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Yoruba in Nigeria and Diaspora

Rowland Abiodun

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Yoruba people number well over thirty million from about sixteen ancient kingdoms. They spread all over southwestern Nigeria and extend well into the neighboring countries of Benin and Togo. The Yoruba have been urbanized since the first millennium c.e. and are well known for their fine artistic achievements, especially the naturalistic life-size bronze heads and terra-cotta sculptures of Ile-Ife. In addition to being among the most accomplished carvers in wood and ivory in Africa, the Yoruba

Togo

Agbenyega Adedze

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Although dress in Togo is similar to that of its neighbors in West Africa, it has distinctive features that make it unique in the region. It is quite common for citizens of neighboring countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, and Ghana to identify a Togolese national by his or her clothes even though similar styles of dress might be present in these countries. Like most regions of the world, environment affects clothing choices, especially evident in practices distinguishing the north and the south of

Overview of Mongolia

Monisha Ahmed

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Walking down the main street in Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s capital, past gray, crumbling Soviet-era buildings, a woman wearing a blue silk del, or robe, contrasts with the robust man by her side in a sober, gray Western-style suit. Walking alongside them are women in skinny jeans, fitted T-shirts, and stiletto heels. But far from the city, a nomad wears his sheepskin robe, sitting astride his horse. Mongolia has many faces. Probably the most celebrated of these is Chinggis Khaan, better known by his

Aboriginal Dress in the Kimberley, Western Australia

Kim Akerman

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As in most other areas of Australia, the Aboriginals of the Kimberley were traditionally unclothed. For them, dress consisted of headbands and hair belts. Pubic tassels (made by tying multiple strands of spun fur or hair string into a mop, suspended over the genital area) were worn occasionally. Other elements of dress consisted of ornaments made from feathers, fibers, animal teeth, or shell, the use of which was often dictated by the ceremonial and social status of the wearer. More complex ornam

Dress of the Cook Islands

Kalissa Alexeyeff

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Cook Islands dress of the twenty-first century is a vibrant mixture of local, Western, and regional influences. Traces of the islands’ missionary and colonial history are also evident and reflect an ongoing incorporation of external styles and aesthetics. Since the Cook Islands gained independence in 1965, the revival of local dress practices of the past has been viewed as an important way of forging an independent nation-state. Traditional dress, primarily worn in performance contexts in the ear

Lower Niger Delta Peoples and Diaspora

Martha G. Anderson and E. J. Alagoa

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The inhabitants of the Niger Delta speak dozens of languages and represent nine different language groups. Populations range in size from the Ijo, a diverse group of about two million who live in communities spread throughout the Delta, to the Defaka, who number only about two hundred and occupy a single village. Larger groups include the Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri, Ikwerre, Ekpeye, Ogoni, and Obolo (or Andoni). Most Delta groups have maintained their own languages and distinct identities, but they

Uniforms

Nigel Arch

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

A uniform may be defined as a prescribed set of clothing peculiar to a distinct group of individuals within a society. It is distinguished by displays of hierarchy evident on parts of the dress and will usually also display emblems that act as signals only readily interpreted by other members of the group. Hierarchy is expressed in terms of rank, and badges of rank have appeared on such elements of uniform dress as the shoulder strap and cuffs of the upper body garment. Other symbols act as remin

Tsonga Dress and Fashion

Rayda Becker

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

All Tsonga in South Africa originate from Mozambique. A small group, they have a complex history involving various migrations and names; Tsonga now primarily denotes a language. In the early 1900s Tsonga women wore skirts made of imported cotton, and beaded jewelry. Later the skirts became shorter and fuller and are now made of wool. The main changes over the last century involve the upper body, the beaded necklaces worn in the 1930s giving way to blouses and T-shirts, worn with the minceka, two

Jewelry of Malaysia

Mohammed Kassim Bin Haji Ali

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Beads were one of the earliest forms of manufactured body ornaments worn by indigenous groups in Malaysia. Some beads found in Borneo can be dated to the Metal Age. Earlier glass and stone beads that came from as far away as Egypt and Mesopotamia through bartering have become very valuable and are much sought after in the early twenty-first century; in earlier times they were sometimes used as currency. The ancient tradition remains strong, and status and wealth are measured according to the numb

Okpella

Jean M. Borgatti

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Okpella dress as known from the twentieth century includes both everyday wear and dress associated with ritual and festive events, notably clothing associated with men’s and women’s title taking. For men, this includes garments donned during age-group ceremonies, the preliminary event for all subsequent title taking, as well as the apron and feathered crown worn during the Oghalo ceremony, the completion of which admits them into the body of titled elders who, in the past, formed the ruling counc

Sweden

Ulla Brück

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Historically there are several indications of an urge to follow fashion in Sweden, although changes were slow. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries medieval and Renaissance traits still dominated. In the eighteenth century, two-piece dresses for women and breeches and jackets for men became more common. Sweden has numerous varieties of provincial folk dress. Some consider these to be historic items, with strong local identification, while others see them as inventions of nineteenth-cent

The Northwest Coast

Kathryn B. Bunn-Marcuse

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Pacific Northwest Coast has long been known for its elaborate and distinctive art styles. This attention to form and expression is no less true for clothing, especially ceremonial clothing, than for totem poles and masks. On the Northwest Coast clothing conveys identity, status, and wealth among its indigenous people, wrapping wearers in their clan and familial identities. Today, this is most clearly seen in ceremonial regalia worn on important public occasions; but dress has always provided

Nepal

Claire Burkert

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Nepal’s peoples can be divided by caste, ethnicity, race, language, and religion. Most of the Indo-Aryans are Hindus whose mother tongue is Nepali. The 2001 census identified at least forty-four ethnic groups, mostly Tibeto-Burman, with distinct dress traditions. High mountain peoples comprise less than one percent of Nepal’s population. The different geoclimatic conditions strongly influence clothing. The earliest written account of clothing in Nepal comes from the third century and describes bl

Kuba Dress and Textiles

Elisabeth L. Cameron

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Dress in the ter Kuba kingdom (Democratic Republic of Congo), whether daily wear or ceremonial, marks both rank and prosperity. Men’s and women’s festive dress is an ensemble of skirt, hat, and other beaded and decorated accessories. Rank is indicated through the use of specific items such as eagle or owl feathers, the wearing of certain skirt styles, and restriction of some metals. The density and rarity of added materials demonstrates the resources a family or clan can control and thus their af

Miao/Hmong in the United States

Mary Alice Chaney

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Hmong came to the United States as refugees from Southeast Asia. They trace their ancestry to China where they are called Miao. The U.S. Hmong population is concentrated in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They are known for and recognized by the colorful and elaborately decorated clothing ensembles that they wear to celebrate their New Year. There are three Hmong subgroups, which derive their names from the colors and patterns used in their special-occasion dress: White, Green/Blue, and

Ethnic Groups of Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India

Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri and Sarit Kumar Chaudhuri

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Arunachal Pradesh, “land of the dawn-lit mountains,” is India’s easternmost state. It shares a border with Assam to the south and Nagaland to the southeast; Bhutan lies to the west, Myanmar to the east, and Tibet to the north. Briefly designated as the North East Frontier Agency (1954–1972), this area has remained, culturally and geographically, a meeting point of civilizations: Chinese, Central Asian, Southeast Asian, and Indian.

Overview of Taiwan

Ching-Yi Cheng and Hsu-Chun Su

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The impact of Confucian philosophy on all aspects of Chinese life is evident in the attire of the Han people of Taiwan, specifically as regards the notion of the Doctrine of the Mean, which emphasizes personal introspection and emotional control, focused on cultural nurturing and the rejection of human vanity. Dress preserves modesty by covering the body and obscuring its shape. Importance is placed on inner beauty, the term for which literally means “charm”—the spiritual and cultural quality hop

Asian American

Usha Chowdhary

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In 2004, Asian Americans represented 33 percent of the total immigrants in the United States and 50 percent in Canada. Even though previous studies show that immigrants acculturate over time and are assimilated to the new cultural values, their ethnic identity continues to be important for selected parts of their everyday life. Ethnic identity allows association between and among people based on their shared worldviews, social practices, and commonality of past experiences and helps with giving a

Tibetan Jewelry

John Clarke

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In Tibet before the Chinese invasion, jewelry, together with ornamented objects used in everyday life such as purses and chatelaines, formed the most visible statements of a person’s wealth and status. The nobility, consisting of a relatively small number of families, was able to afford the most lavishly decorated and finely worked pieces. Laymen drawn from the upper class, together with monastic officials with whom they worked in tandem, formed part of the Dalai Lama’s government. Since the time

Festivals Pacific-Style

Susan Cochrane

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Examples of ceremonial dress can be found around the world. In the Pacific, festivals as ceremonies celebrate Pacific life and occur in local, regional, national, and international contexts. At the community level, every school has its culture day, every church its fete, and every family and clan celebrates events in the life cycle. On the regional level, provincial governments organize festivals or “shows” to bring the communities under their jurisdiction together to celebrate unity and diversit

Norwegian Folk Dress in the United States

Carol Colburn

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Emigration from Norway to the United States lasted for approximately one hundred years, from 1825 to 1925. Norway’s terrain provided only three percent arable land; for Norwegian immigrants, the fertile plains in America’s Midwest were an attractive destination. Few packed distinctively Norwegian clothing, knowing that following local styles would indicate their intention to blend in. However, Norwegian dress echoed among the Norwegian American population through continued contact between Norway

Igbo in Nigeria and Diaspora

Herbert M. Cole

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

One of the largest populations of West African peoples at over twenty million, the Igbo have a history of dress and personal decoration lasting over one thousand years. The archaeological sites of Igbo Ukwu, dating from the ninth and tenth centuries c.e., begin this record in the heart of Igbo country, twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) east of the Niger River and about one hundred miles (one hundred sixty-one kilometers) north of the Atlantic Ocean. Although the documentation is largely blank

Masquerade, Theater, Dance Costumes

Herbert M. Cole

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

African masquerades, perhaps the continent’s premier art form, play grandly with illusion, ambivalence, and paradox. Masks and masquerades are both more, and less, than what they appear to be. Their illusionist play can be comic and lighthearted, or deeply serious, but always it is creative and imaginative, art and artifice. Never is it ordinary, and usually it is deeply meaningful and sometimes powerfully instrumental. Masquerades both create and help organize values and knowledge, and they are

Rites of Passage and Ritual Traditions of the Shan

Susan Conway

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Shan State is bordered by China, Tibet, Laos, and Thailand. The Shan belong to the Tai ethnic groups. Their rulers came from prominent local families, but they usually had to present tribute payments to more powerful monarchs. The major Shan religion is Theravada Buddhism, which assimilated ancient spirit religions. The Shan make textiles and cultivate cotton. They have for centuries imported Chinese and Burmese raw silk and other luxury fabrics. Exotic court dress identified rulers with the gods

Rites of Passage and Rituals in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia

Susan Conway

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The people of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are united by their proximity to the Mekong River and its tributaries. Indigenous and imported fabrics are worn for dress associated with religious ceremonies and other rituals. In societies where Hinduism has made an impact, particularly Thailand and Cambodia, children undergo a tonsure ceremony marking the passage from childhood to adolescence. If the ceremony is performed for a male member of the royal family, court affiliates dressed as guar

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