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Ladakh

Monisha Ahmed

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

Encyclopedia entry

Situated in the upper reaches of the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, Ladakh is India’s high-altitude border region, characterized by an extraordinary desertlike landscape where barren mountains thrust toward an intensely blue sky, punctuated by green oases that reveal human habitation. Living in extreme weather conditions where temperatures drop to minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 50 degrees Celsius) in winter and rise to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius)in summer, Ladakh’s i

Tweed

Fiona Anderson

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

Encyclopedia entry

Tweed cloth originated in Scotland in the early nineteenth century. At that time, it was only made from woolen yarns in the twill weave. From the 1820s to the present, tweed has been characterized by a huge range of color and weave effects. The main account given for the origins of the name tweed is that it is based on a misreading of the Scottish word tweel or twill (which was the weave characteristic of Scottish woolens at that time) for tweed. By the 1840s, tweed was established as a term used

West Africa

Lisa Aronson

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

Encyclopedia entry

West African markets are well known for their tightly packed displays of textiles in rich arrays of colors and patterns, and tailors on their sewing machines can be heard everywhere sewing visually striking garments that seldom go unnoticed when worn in public. So vital and richly varied are textiles in West Africa that even prominent contemporary artists such as El Anatsui from Ghana and Nigeria and Yinka Shonibare from Nigeria are inspired by them as powerful mediums for discourse on historical

Introduction to Southeast Asia

Ruth Barnes

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

Encyclopedia entry

Southeast Asia comprises two distinct areas, the mainland and an archipelago of islands extending from Sumatra to the Philippines and the Moluccas. Both the mainland and the archipelago have exceptionally rich traditions of adorning the human body. Dress acts as a social indicator, and dress requirements are associated with religious and social ceremonies. The earliest detailed representations of Southeast Asian dress come from religious edifices dating from the ninth century. Ordinary people’s d

Belgium

Karlijn Bronselaer

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

Encyclopedia entry

Belgium played a vital role in the industrialization of the European textile industry. Belgian society changed very quickly due to industrialization during the first half of the nineteenth century. From about the 1820s on the fashionable silhouette in West Europe was the hourglass. Although the average Belgian had neither time nor money for fashion, improved production methods and sewing machines made corsets more affordable. Later, the Art Nouveau or Jugendstil movement (ca. 1890–1920), with its

Ireland

Síle de Cléir

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

Encyclopedia entry

The situation regarding the various types of dress in Ireland in the period between the beginning of the nineteenth and the end of the twentieth centuries is a complex one. It is useful, perhaps, in this context to see dress in Ireland at this time as a continuum: folk dress at one end, characterized by locally produced fabrics and traditional aesthetics and deeply embedded in a local social and cultural context; and fashionable dress at the other, with a wider choice of materials and styles conn

Miao National Minority

Gina Corrigan

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

Encyclopedia entry

Today, the Miao ethnic minority live in southwestern China, their population totaling 8.9 million. Miao origins and migrations are controversial and poorly documented, but we know that attempts to subdue them have been difficult. Miao in remote mountain regions developed many garments, expressing cultural identity. In 2000 a book published in China illustrated 173 different styles of Miao dress. Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the female population in the countryside again adopted trad

Tiraz: Textiles and Dress with Inscriptions in Central and Southwest Asia

Margaret Anne Deppe

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

Encyclopedia entry

The term tiraz comes from the Farsi word for “embroider.” In Arabic, the word tiraz means “embellishment” and, by extension, “fashion.” Tiraz describes the ornate Arabic script and associated designs on garments and other textile goods, as well as items adorned with them. Although inscribing the ruler’s name on textiles dates back thousands of years to pharaonic Egypt, tiraz is a distinctly Islamic form of decoration. Beautiful lettering was considered to be among the highest art forms in many cu

History of Textiles of South Asia

Jasleen Dhamija

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

Encyclopedia entry

South Asia’s rich cultural heritage is expressed in the continuing tradition of textiles, going back nearly five thousand years. Although silk was an important textile very early, it was cotton, cultivated in most parts of South Asia and developed as a fabric, that was probably exported to other countries. Cultivated cotton, developed in the Indian subcontinent around 3000 b.c.e., was woven throughout India. South Asia was open to several contacts through trade, migrations, and conquest, enrichin

The Maldive Islands

Jasleen Dhamija

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

Encyclopedia entry

Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives have from the earliest times been in the path of ships from nations pursuing trade with South Asia, Southeast Asia, and beyond, including Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Sassanians. They were thus open to numerous influences. The islands’ conversion to Islam, possibly brought about by visiting traders, impacted greatly on local dress. Inhabitants of more isolated islands could not afford to buy textiles from India in premodern times; a fifteenth-cent

Rites of Passage and Rituals in India

Jasleen Dhamija

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

Encyclopedia entry

Indians are conscious of a deep connection between woven fabrics and their inner lives, viewing textiles as a second skin through which socio-religious and cultural history is absorbed into the wearer’s psyche. Weaving is one of the oldest technologies, and the terminology associated with it has been used to express philosophical concepts that are equally ancient. For example, the word sutra, originating from sut (thread) and meaning “to string together,” is used for the stringing together of the

The Māori Pari (Bodice)

Jo Diamond

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

Encyclopedia entry

The pari is a Māori bodice of the rāranga type, worn with a piupiu (a type of fibrous skirt) and Māori jewelry by women in cultural performances including competitions, concerts, and festivals. Rāranga is a generic naming for plaited (as opposed to loom) handweaving practices undertaken mostly, though not exclusively, by Māori women. Māori performances usually occur in order to promote traditional practices, but for some they include a more material reward or prize money or are part of fund-raisi

Wearable Technology

Leopoldina Fortunati

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

Encyclopedia entry

The history of dress is a history not only of creativity and aesthetics, imagination and communication, style and taste, but also of technology. Technology is the silent but indispensable mate of wearing apparel and fashion. The history of dress-related technologies shows the great debt that fashion and wearing apparel have to technology. The body, too, has its technological aspects: From primordial times it has, in fact, been seen as a natural machine. This vision of the body as a natural machin

Myanmar

Sylvia Fraser-Lu

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

Encyclopedia entry

Myanmar, or Burma, has a complex ethnic mix, resulting in Burmese, Chinese, and Tibetan dress influences. Myanmar’s earliest, most lasting contacts were apparently with India. Indian concepts of monarchy, with the cult of godlike kings, were adopted in Myanmar. Myanmar kings on formal occasions were known to wear gold-embroidered robes, emulating the gods. The Indian Laws of Manu stipulated that women were responsible for weaving household clothing. Sixteenth-century travelers to Burma recorded t

The Textile Tradition of Malaysia and Its Impact on Dress

Adline Abdul Ghani

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

Encyclopedia entry

Maritime trade linked the Malay Peninsula to the world from as early as the first to the eleventh centuries. With the Indian Ocean to the west and the South China Sea to the east, the peninsula held a focal position along two major sailing routes. As an entrepôt connecting the East and West, the peninsula was also constantly exposed to new cultures, influences, ideas, technologies, and materials, and throughout history, trade activity in general has been inextricably linked to developments in loc

Yi National Minority

Stevan Harrell and Bamo Qubumo

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

Encyclopedia entry

Numbering nearly eight million, the Yi national minority is the seventh largest minority in China. Also known as the Nuosu, they live mainly in the hillside and basin areas of Yunnan province, with significant populations in Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, and the Guangxi Autonomous Region. Among the Nuosu Yi people of the Liangshan region, in the mountains of southwestern Sichuan, clothing and decoration reflect social organization and cultural concepts, expressing aesthetic ideals of womanly bea

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

Rites of Passage and Rituals in Indonesia

Marianne Hulsbosch

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Indonesian archipelago stretches a distance of more than three thousand miles (about five thousand kilometers) along the equator, across three time zones, and has a population in excess of 200 million, comprising more than 350 ethnic groups. These features make it impossible to consider Indonesia as a single society with common linguistic links, shared values, and ideologies. Therefore, it would be a mistake to make generalizations about ceremonial and ritualistic meaning of Indonesian textil

Introduction to the Dress of the Pacific Islands

Adrienne L. Kaeppler

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Pacific Ocean covers one-third of the earth’s surface and is inhabited by hundreds of cultural groups. Some twenty-five thousand islands, ranging from tiny specks of coral to the large island of New Guinea, are occupied by physically diverse peoples, many of whom have mixed and intermixed. Environments range from snowy mountains to raging volcanoes, from steaming rain forests to parched deserts, from coral atolls to volcanic outcrops. These Pacific Islands are usually divided into three histo

The Sari

Aarti Kawlra

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

Encyclopedia entry

The word sari refers to the unstitched length of cloth that serves as the principal component of a clothing ensemble that most often includes a bodice and a petticoat. Known widely as the national dress of the Indian woman, the sari is a draped item of clothing whose contemporary sartorial expression has evolved over centuries of exchange between indigenous cultures and foreign influence. Historical records of the textile trade from India include mention of saris woven in special designs and tech

Eritrea

Peri M. Klemm

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

Encyclopedia entry

Nine ethnic groups live in the mountain and lowland regions of Eritrea and identify equally as OrthodoxChristian and Sunni Muslim. Eritrean inhabitants speak both Cushitic and Semitic languages. The Tigrinya and Tigre peoples of the Eritrean highlands make up 80 percent of the population. Women of the highlands traditionally wear the zuria, a long, white, handwoven, undyed cotton dress with long sleeves and thick bands of colorful embroidery at the chest, hem, and sleeves. When the zuria is elabo

Textile Manufacture in Japan

Desiree Koslin

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

Encyclopedia entry

The earliest textile survivals in Japan date to the seventh and eighth centuries. Chinese influences reached Japan in the early eighth century, and from that time on, fine colorful silks were woven for the imperial court in the Nishijin quarters of the capital. Four major natural fibers were traditionally used: hemp, ramie, cotton, and silk. The display and use of textiles have been of great social and economic importance in Japanese culture. A unique set of circumstances enabled meteoric develop

Sierra Leone

Frederick John Lamp

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

Encyclopedia entry

Dress in Sierra Leone and the surrounding region differs according to whether it is worn in everyday life or on celebratory occasions and whether it is worn among special classes of people, such as chiefs, hunters, and various ethnocultural groups. Dress that has emerged from indigenous design is most distinctive, whether worn by adults or, in miniature version, by children. Sierra Leoneans also wear Western-style clothes. Traditionally, nudity was common.

Textiles of Central Asia

Abby Lillethun

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

Encyclopedia entry

Textiles play important roles expressing and sustaining ethnic identity in Central Asia, in part by signifying continuity of family and spiritual beliefs. In addition, textiles have been crucial in transcultural exchange processes as trade commodities in economic systems and as prestige symbols in sociopolitical contexts. Further, Central Asian textiles reflect historical influences of internal groups on each other, as well as influences resulting from contact brought by invasions and trading coh

Uzbek Textiles

Carter Malik

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

Encyclopedia entry

After the creation of the independent republic of Uzbekistan in 1991, Uzbek textiles, with their brilliant color combinations and decorative exuberance, drew much interest from the international community and fashion experts. Silk wall hangings, ceremonial robes, and ikat dresses from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries began to appear more often in private collections, galleries, museums, and boutiques around the world. Khan atlas (silk satin-weave ikat), suzani embroidery (needlework)

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