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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

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 Social World of Cloth in the Pacific Islands

Susanne Küchler and Graeme Were

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

Encyclopedia entry

Portable, malleable, absorbent, and textured, often with colored patterns that attract or repel the mind, cloth the world over is essential for all manner of fastenings and constructions that give form to the social relations that are conceived as dependent upon the actions of the body. Pacific societies are unique in expressing, perhaps more fervently than observed elsewhere, the centrality of cloth to identities of kinship and political authority, as cloth is harnessed and transformed into surf

Textiles and Dress of the Motu Koita People

Jacquelyn A. Lewis-Harris

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

Encyclopedia entry

Papua New Guinea, the eastern half of the island New Guinea (the second-largest island in the world), lies just north of Australia and has several hundred outer islands. Annexed and subdivided by the Germans and British in 1884, Papua New Guinea became an independent nation in 1975. The country has a vast variety of cultures and at least eight hundred languages. The Motu and Koita people inhabited the southern coastal and immediate inland areas of Papua New Guinea, living between the western coas

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

Photographic Representations of Pacific Peoples

Max Quanchi

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

Encyclopedia entry

The first camera arrived in the Pacific shortly after it was invented in France in 1839, and photographs of Pacific Islanders were taken during several European voyages in the 1840s. Most of these photographs have not survived. Permanent European traders, settlers, and regular visitors increased after the founding of Botany Bay (Sydney) in 1788 and the growth of port towns at Honolulu, Papeete, Levuka, and Apia; and an accessible collection of photographs, many recording the dress and accoutremen

Asmat Dress

Pauline van der Zee

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Asmat people live along the southwest coast of New Guinea. In this extremely damp, swampy climate, being unclothed is more practical than wearing garments. Besides, in a society where experiencing danger is common, clothes can be troublesome because they may easily catch on rough undergrowth and thorny plants. Until the 1960s Asmat men left their genitals uncovered and children and women went partly naked. Westerners thus reported that they wore nothing, but the Asmat themselves believed thei

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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