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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

National Minorities in Xinjiang Province

Rahile Dawut

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

Encyclopedia entry

Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is located in northwest China, a vast area bordered by Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan. Besides the Han Chinese, there are more than ten other ethnic groups, following several different religious traditions, in Xinjiang. Among them are Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tartars, Tajiks, and Hui, all of whom follow various Islamic traditions. The historical Silk Road, which ran through present-day Xinjiang, linked the Far East, Central Asia, western

Palestinian Women’s Dress

Widad Kawar and Sibba Einarsdóttir

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

Encyclopedia entry

Palestine had a wide variety of traditional dress styles. Not only did every area have a different style, but often every village had its own distinctive dress, and sometimes the various large families living in one village would have a range of different styles. Occasionally, there were differences within the same family as women from different villages entered the family as wives and each brought her own embroidery traditions and clothing styles with her. All of this variety makes defining Pale

Jordanian Women’s Dress

Widad Kawar and Sibba Einarsdóttir

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

Encyclopedia entry

Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, lies in the southern part of the Syrian Desert on the Gulf of Aqaba. It shares borders with Syria, Iraq, Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. Much of the country is desert; however, in the northwest, there is a fertile agricultural region. Jordan has a long history that can be traced back to the Sumerian period in the second millennium b.c.e. and earlier. During its long and rich history, Jordan has been part of the Babylonian, Persian, Egyp

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

Tibetan Minorities

Phila McDaniel

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

Encyclopedia entry

Tang dynasty (618–907) Chinese records draw a distinction between Tibetans who settled in villages and those who practiced a nomadic way of life. The Old Tibetan Chronicle, probably compiled between 800 and 840, recounts how Gnam-ri-slon-rtsan (King Namri Longstan, d. 629) organized poor southern Tibetan farmers to take over present-day Ü-Tsang by driving the wealthy herders northward onto the high plateau. The Lhasa region thus became the home of Tibetan agrarian and urban culture, while the her

Dress from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Christina Sumner

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

Encyclopedia entry

Geographically, the Central Asian region is generally very dry, with two large river systems, the Amu Dar’ya and Syr Dar’ya, which flow westward from the mountains of Tajikistan across Uzbekistan and empty into the Aral Sea. Occasional oases along these river systems offered fertile environments for settlement, agriculture, and trade; cotton and silk, both vital for clothing and textiles, were essential products.

Trouser Wearing by Horse-Riding Nomads in Central Asia

Willem Vogelsang

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

Encyclopedia entry

Trousers may be thought to be a typical feature of modern Western dress, but people in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and large parts of Central Asia wear trousers and have done so for centuries. In Central Asia and Southwest Asia practical considerations, such as horse riding, and later religious prescriptions have meant that trousers there, often called shalwar, look very different from their narrower, Western-style counterparts. They are normally baggy with a low crotch and reach to the ankles. Sh

History of West Turkistan and Its Influence on the Dress of South Central Asia

Willem Vogelsang

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

Encyclopedia entry

West Turkistan is the name traditionally given to the lands that stretch east of the Caspian Sea and north of modern Iran and Afghanistan. To the east, it is bordered by the rising peaks of the Altai and Karakoram mountains, which mark the modern frontier with China. To the north lies the wide expanse of Kazakhstan. West Turkistan is a harsh and arid region that until the early twentieth century was largely inhabited by nomads. Villages and urban centers developed at specific places where water w

Dress from Kazakhstan

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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

Encyclopedia entry

Kazakhstan is a large Eurasian country in Central Asia; it is ranked as the ninth-largest country in the world, with a territory of about 7,311 square miles (about 12,000 square kilometers). It shares borders with China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The name Kazakh derives from an ancient Turkic word meaning “independent” or “a free spirit,” probably as a result of the Kazakhs’ nomadic horseback culture. The ending -stan derives from the Persian word stan meaning “land” or “p

Bedouin Jewelry

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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

Encyclopedia entry

For thousands of years, jewelry has been an essential part of dress throughout the Arab world. No matter what their age, occupation, or status, people have worn jewelry of some kind. Jewelry, however, should not be seen only as a means of personal adornment. It has other essential functions within Arab life as well. It is, for instance, important for showing gender and social and economic status; in particular, jewelry is seen as a means of giving a woman financial security for the future. These

Geographic and Cultural Introduction

John E. Vollmer

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

Encyclopedia entry

The region of continental and insular East Asia and Inner Asia is vast in terms of both time and space. The recorded history of the region is measured in millennia, rather than centuries. Dress is widely diverse, as are the people who created it. Historically, Chinese civilization, which traces a continuous development over four millennia, has dominated the region and has influenced the attire and attitudes about dress of many of China’s neighboring states. Yet even Chinese dress is far from mono

International Fashion in East Asia

John E. Vollmer

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

Encyclopedia entry

The activities of Western merchants, missionaries, and adventurers have been recorded in Chinese historical literature since the Tang dynasty (618–907), but not until the sixteenth century did Western dress became a factor in the region’s history. Gradually, Western customs, including clothing, came to be considered essential components of modernization. World War II and its aftermath accelerated the adoption of Western dress in East Asia. In most places national or regional dress is now deemed “

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