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Introduction to South Asia

Jasleen Dhamija

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

Encyclopedia entry

South Asia possesses a wide range of terrain. The northern area has high mountain ranges in Nepal along with the high-altitude plateaus of Ladakh and Bhutan, while eastern India and Bangladesh have tropical areas with high rainfall. There is the Thar Desert, which extends from Pakistan, Rajasthan, and Haryana to Delhi. The fertile Punjab, watered by five rivers, has since ancient times attracted migrations from Central Asia. The ancient riverine culture of the Indus, Saraswati, and Ganges nurture

The Indigenous Hunter-Gatherers of Sri Lanka, the Wanniyala-Aetto

Wiveca Stegeborn

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

Encyclopedia entry

Prehistoric fossae and artifacts show that 34,000 years ago ± 5,000, groups of Palaeolithic people, plausibly descendants of Homo erectus found in southern India, repeatedly migrated over Adam’s Bridge, a strip of land connecting India with Sri Lanka during glacial periods. The hominids brought with them an Acheulean stone-tool technique, along with flora and fauna. They were unclad, and no traces have been found of hides, straw, soft bark, or other perishable goods that could have been used as c

Colonial Influence on Dress in Sri Lanka

Nira Wickramasinghe

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

Encyclopedia entry

For 450 years the island of Ceylon/Sri Lanka was the prey of successive naval powers. Colonial conquest was predicated on superior sea power and arms, military organization, political strength, and economic wealth. Popular history has generally differentiated between Portuguese rule (1505–1658), Dutch rule (1658–1796), and British rule (1796–1948) in the guise of first the East India Company and then the Crown. The “rule” of these three powers was sometimes nothing more than a presence that grew,

Sri Lanka

Nira Wickramasinghe and Farzana Haniffa

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

Encyclopedia entry

Every major aspect of Sri Lanka bears traces of Indian heritage. From the sixteenth century on, the impact of colonialism infused new elements into local dress. The capture of the maritime provinces by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century spawned new identities—Catholic Sinhalese, Catholic Tamils, and peoples of mixed descent—with important implications regarding dress. The Westernized urban middle class that emerged in the nineteenth century adopted European clothes. This emulation met with r

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