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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 in New Caledonia

Frédéric Angleviel

Translated by Marissa Dooris

Vikram Iyer

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

Encyclopedia entry

New Caledonia, situated in the southwest Pacific Ocean, comprises a number of islands including the Loyalty Islands, Isle des Pins, and Isle Bélep. The warm climate and tropical vegetation have had a substantial influence on what the inhabitants have worn and do wear. In the past the indigenous people of New Caledonia, the Melanesian Kanaks, embellished their bodies in various ways. Subsequently, evangelical missionaries urged these people to hide their bodies. In the twenty-first century consume

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

Performance Dress in Japan

Monica Bethe

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

Encyclopedia entry

In early-twenty-first-century Japan, theater and dance performances range from the avant-garde to traditional performing arts that trace their beginnings to periods spanning over a thousand years. The costumes worn for these traditional performances reflect styles of dress prevalent at various historical periods, though not necessarily the period corresponding to the inception of the art in question. The story of performance costume must therefore be seen against the background of the history of

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

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

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

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

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

Body Decoration in South Asia

Archana Shastri

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

Encyclopedia entry

The practice of body painting and marking is almost as old as humankind. India forms the largest core of South Asia, and cultural variations are wide and complex. Traditional practices and observances were shared, assimilated, or transported with migration and invasion, enabling continuity of body decoration traditions, which are still practiced in the early twenty-first century. Broader practices associated with Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism had tribal origins, predominant among these being kohl

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

Performing Dress and Adornment in Southeastern Nigeria

Sarah Adams

Source: Dress Sense. Emotional and Sensory Experiences of the Body and Clothes 2007

Book chapter

The most productive way to demonstrate how the layering of theoretical models adds new dimensions to the study of personal adornment is to root this discussion in the specific example of the history of dress in Arochukwu, a village in southeastern Nigeria. I use both Douglas and Foucault in my own research on uli painting in Arochukwu, where I studied the impact a mission marriage training school had on the history of dress in that area.In Arochukwu, body painting is pronounced uri, but I use uli

The Shuar and Achuar of Ecuador and Peru

Nancy B. Rosoff

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

Encyclopedia entry

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Shuar and Achuar groups of Ecuador’s eastern Amazonian lowlands made and wore dazzling ornaments that stood out in contrast to the monochrome world of the jungle. The sonorous environment of the forests was enhanced by the tinkling and rhythmic sounds of seed and cut-shell necklaces and belts worn by men and women during dances. Prior to the introduction of trade goods, agricultural gardens and the surrounding forests furnished all the mat

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