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Subcultural Body Style History

Therèsa M. Winge

Source: Body Style 2012

Book chapter

From the time we are born, the human body is modified for physical, spiritual, psychological, social, and cultural transformations. In fact, prehistoric mummies found in recent years suggest that body practices, modifications, associated supplements, and rituals were significant in the earliest of human cultures (Winge 2003). In 1991 a frozen Stone Age male mummy was found in the Ötztal Alps. Nicknamed Ötzi, this mummy shows evidence of possibly the earliest body modifications ever discovered. Re

Benin

Joseph C.E. Adande

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Republic of Benin is bounded in the south by the Atlantic Ocean, in the north by Niger and Burkina Faso, in the east by Nigeria, and in the west by Togo. Thus, it naturally shares both history and culture with the peoples of these neighboring countries. In Benin, clothing, regardless of definition, is as complex and varied as its numerous linguistic groups. In the Benin Republic, Vodun adepts and masquerade performers dress primarily to please their gods and offer them the appropriate manifes

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

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

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

Body Modification and Body Art

Lisa Aronson

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

Encyclopedia entry

The U.S. anthropologist Enid Schildkrout characterizes the body as a “site where culture is inscribed (and) a place where the individual is defined and inserted into the cultural landscape.” Cultures throughout the African continent use the transformed body as means for expressing identities, norms, values, and aesthetic principles through a wide range of body art media, including everything from scarification, tattooing, painting, and oiling the skin to styling the hair and reshaping designated

Moko Māori: Skin Modification

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Linda Waimarie Nikora and Mohi Robert Rua

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Māori people settled Aotearoa (New Zealand) from the islands of the eastern Pacific, coming in successive waves over many centuries. They brought with them the languages, music, belief systems, and technologies of their cultures of origin. They also brought the practice of permanent skin modification. Tattoo chisels similar to those used in western Polynesia have been found in some of the earliest excavations. With the new environment came new resources: massive hardwood forests, nephrite and

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

Fijian Dress and Body Modifications

Roderick Ewins

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

Encyclopedia entry

Geographically, Fiji sits where the arbitrarily defined three triangles of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia intersect, and it shares many cultural elements with its neighbors on all sides, though Polynesian elements predominate. Bodywear has always been strongly differentiated in terms of age, gender, and social status. Nineteenth-century Christian missionary and colonial government intervention altered every aspect of custom, including bodywear. Items with any symbolic connection with the ol

Sudan

Susan M. Kenyon

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Republic of the Sudan is the largest country in Africa, encompassing nearly a million square miles, with great diversity of both environment and population. Its landscapes range from desert in the north to rainforests in the south, and, while rainfall varies, temperatures are uniformly high, a significant factor in considering what people there wear. Sudan’s approximately thirty million people include more than fifty ethnic groups, with differing identities reflected in their appearance. Inva

Dressing the Body in Bariai

Naomi M. McPherson

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

Encyclopedia entry

The name Bariai defines a linguistic and cultural group of about three thousand people (in 2005) who live in a dozen villages along a part of the north coast of West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. Concepts of the body and ceremonial body wear, in particular interrelated ceremonies for the firstborn child and for mourning, are crucial to understanding how Bariai communicate culturally meaningful messages about self, status, and the cycle of life and death that describes their worldview. T

Bilas: Dressing the Body in Papua New Guinea

Michael Mel

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

Encyclopedia entry

Papua New Guinea is a nation of some six million people in the twenty-first century and lies at the western end of the Pacific Ocean, north of Australia. It is the eastern half of the whole island of New Guinea, which is the second-largest island in the world after Greenland. It gained political independence from Australia in 1975. The nation has always both intrigued and fascinated people with one unusual factor: There are over eight hundred distinct languages spoken. This is an indication of th

Uganda

Venny Nakazibwe and Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza

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

Encyclopedia entry

Uganda is located along the equator, bordered in the north by Sudan, in the east by Kenya, in the south by Tanzania and Rwanda, and in the west by Democratic Republic of Congo. Covering an area equivalent to 91,076 square miles (235,886 square kilometers), Uganda is bisected by many rivers, swamps, lakes, and forests—all of which enable an agricultural economy and a rich diversity of wildlife that provided, until the early twentieth century, materials for dress. With a population of 26.8 million

Equatorial Guinea

Enrique Okenve

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

Encyclopedia entry

The tiny central African country of Equatorial Guinea covers only 28,051 square kilometers (11,000 square miles). It is comprised of a few islands, of which Bioko—formerly known as Fernando Po—off the coast of Cameroon is the largest, and a 26,000-square-kilometer (10,000-square-mile) mainland territory known as Rio Muni nestled between Cameroon and Gabon. With European expansionism, these territories were ceded in 1778 from Portugal to Spain, but the Spaniards did not arrive until 1858. During t

Fang of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon

Louis P. Perrois

Translated by Francine Farr

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Fang of equatorial Africa dazzled all who crossed their path of east-to-west migration toward the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Guinea that ended in the early twentieth century. In 1843, U.S. pastor John Wilson noted, as quoted inMerlet’sLe pays des trois estuaires, 1471–1900, that they were “naked except for a bark loincloth …. Their hair hangs in braids. They carry knives, spears, and many iron objects they make themselves.” In 1847, French naval lieutenant Méquet, plying the Como River on the

Nigeria Overview

John Picton

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

Encyclopedia entry

A broad if highly oversimplistic view of dress and dress history in Nigeria would probably begin with a contrast between textiles wrapped around the body—a complex of traditions of the forests and southern savannas—and textiles cut and sewn to make garments—practices loosely associated with, but, historically, not wholly dependent on, the advent of Islam in the Sahel and savanna regions. Thereafter, however, the account becomes endlessly complicated because of (a) the interpenetration of the two

Angola

Manuel Jordán Pérez

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

Encyclopedia entry

Angola is situated on the Atlantic Ocean and is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Namibia. Most of the original Khosian speakers were displaced by migrations of Bantu in ancient times. Some Khosians remain in Southern Angola, living as hunter-gatherers or working for Bantu pastoralists. Their dress draws on available resources such as ostrich eggshell beads and goatskins, with varied styles reflecting the wearers’ affiliations. A former Portuguese colony, Angola has suffer

Ghana

Doran H. Ross

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

Encyclopedia entry

Modern Ghana (to be distinguished from the medieval kingdom of Ghana in Mali) is centered on the Atlantic coast of West Africa and is firmly within the tropics with its shoreline about five degrees north of the equator. The country is bordered by Togo on the east, Burkina Faso on the north, and Côte d’Ivoire on the west, and, like all countries in Africa, it shares a history of dress with its neighbors. The contemporary peoples of Ghana may be conveniently divided between the largely Muslim north

Mangbetu Dress

Enid Schildkrout and Curtis A. Keim

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

Encyclopedia entry

In the early twentieth century, the Mangbetu and related peoples who live in the northeastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo became iconic symbols in the West of African high fashion. Their practices of head elongation and body painting and their wearing of distinctive fiber and feather hats, bark cloth, and women’s aprons were represented in their art works and in photographs and paintings by Western visitors. These images have persisted in the cultural iconography of the region until rece

Mozambique

Kathleen Sheldon

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

Encyclopedia entry

Descriptions of dress and adornment in Mozambique were observed and discussed by visitors and Mozambicans beginning with the first written documents in the fifteenth century c.e. Mozambique—located in southeastern Africa with a long Indian Ocean coastline, also bounded by Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa—is home to several ethnic groups with a variety of styles of dress, which changed over the years as the arrival of European Christian missionaries and the spread of Islam made an impact. The

Zambia

Ruth Kerkham Simbao

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

Encyclopedia entry

Zambia (previously Northern Rhodesia) has a complex history of dress that reflects past migrations, vibrant interactions with international peoples, and a creative desire to register style and social status. The significance of dress has been incorporated into language, and a Bemba person might greet a female friend by saying, “Mwafwalukeni!” which on one level means “Hello” but at the same time acknowledges that the friend is wearing a new dress.

Modern Primitives

Theresa M. Winge

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Modern Primitive subculture members were first evident in the latter half of the 1960s. A self-proclaimed Modern Primitive and body artist, Fakir Musafar, originally named this subculture “Modern Primitive" because “modern” represents this subculture’s connection to and place in the contemporary (urban) world, and “primitive” represents the primary or initial (non-Western) cultural groups.

Body Art

Therèsa M. Winge

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

Encyclopedia entry

Body art decorates, adorns, emphasizes, and transforms the human body in temporary, semipermanent, and permanent ways with the use of body modifications or supplements. Throughout history, body art has been practiced and displayed not only in the United States and Canada but also by members of all cultures. Body art serves a range of purposes, from indicating social and cultural status to commemorating special occasions and from displaying daily aesthetic adornment to performing theatrical art. W

Nineteenth-Century Afro-Brazilian Women’s Dress

Kelly Mohs Gage

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The wealth originating from Brazil for the Portuguese Crown was generated by thousands of enslaved African plantation workers. At the dawning of the nineteenth century, there was a considerable African population in Brazil. The dress of both enslaved and freed Afro-Brazilians was linked to their African past while also incorporating European and Brazilian elements. However, African dress elements are not indicators of freedom or slavery, as there were many free Africans in Brazil. African women’s

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