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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

Zimbabwe

William J. Dewey

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Shona peoples represent the majority of Zimbabwe’s population, followed by the Ndebele and the Tonga; each has its dress traditions. Ancient rock paintings left by the very early San peoples depict male hunters with bows and arrows, the women wearing front and back animal-skin aprons. The Bantu speakers migrating to the region about two thousand years ago left figurines, apparently showing body scarring, but no other figurative evidence of early dress or adornment remains. Excavations have yi

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

Indonesia

Itie van Hout

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

Encyclopedia entry

Diverse cultural elements have shaped the Indonesian archipelago, changing dress traditions. Before weaving was known, leaves, plant fibers, and barkcloth were used for clothing. Cotton, not native to Indonesia, may have arrived from India. Early clothing probably consisted of loincloths and hip wrappers. Later dress, particularly ceremonial, comprised layers of clothing. Textiles, imbued with magical qualities, were crucial to relationships between the supernatural and human worlds. By the seven

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

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

Dress and Appearance in Tahiti

Karen Stevenson

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

Encyclopedia entry

Tahiti is one of the Society Islands and the largest island of French Polynesia. It has a tropical climate, and its flora and fauna have been fundamental to the attire made by indigenous Tahitians. Body modification in early Tahiti was used as a visual marker of status within a highly ranked society. The Tahitian social system was founded in a system of primogeniture, in which one’s rank was determined by birth, a system that necessitated a wealth and complexity of embellishment and regalia to de

Barkcloth Body Wrapping in Tonga

Fanny Wonu Veys

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

Encyclopedia entry

Barkcloth, or ngatu, made by women from the paper mulberry tree, occupies a prominent position in the life of the twenty-first-century inhabitants of the Western Polynesian kingdom of Tonga. It is presented, worn, and displayed during first birthdays, weddings, investitures of chiefs, and funerals. Barkcloth as wrapped clothing evolved from a small piece of barkcloth in front of the pubic area to clothing that covers the lower part of the body, a style that initially characterized chiefly dress.

Rwanda and Burundi

Michele D. Wagner

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

Encyclopedia entry

External appearance has played an important role in the modern history of Rwanda and Burundi, and within this history, by a twist of fate, fashion has been surprisingly well recorded for more than a century. This record of clothing, ornaments, charms, and hairstyles shows that, although the material basis of dress has changed a great deal—especially with the shift away from bark cloth and animal skins—certain forms, such as the togalike umwitero, have persisted over time.

Pacific Patterns

Graeme Were and Susanne Küchler

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

Encyclopedia entry

For many, pattern and decoration express an ideology of visual pleasure, but the often-ostentatious designs fashioned by Pacific Islanders from fragile leaf fronds and imported fabrics tell a different story. Stamped or stenciled, plaited or bound, pattern making in the Pacific is concerned with making relations to identity and to land tangible in the most striking ways and the most economic fashion. Though trivialized and hence overlooked—especially for those patterns created by women on the sur

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