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Aboriginal Dress in Arnhem Land

Louise Hamby

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

Encyclopedia entry

The items that Aboriginal people wore on their bodies in Arnhem Land, an Aboriginal reserve in the top portion of the Northern Territory, before contact with outsiders from Macassar and the rest of Australia, were influenced by environmental, cultural, and social factors. The landscape varies from the coast; Arnhem Land changes from escarpment to open woodlands. It has a monsoonal climate with hot to warm temperatures in both the wet and the dry seasons. Bodily items were not worn for warmth, pro

Aboriginal Dress in Australia: Evidence and Resources

Philip Jones

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

Encyclopedia entry

As Bernard Smith, eminent historian of the art of colonial encounter, has demonstrated so clearly, Australian Aboriginal people have often been portrayed in terms of “hard primitivism.” Their minimalist suite of material possessions, their enforced nomadism and capacity to survive the harshest conditions, has been readily juxtaposed with the “soft primitivism” of hierarchically organized and sedentary Pacific peoples. This tendency can be traced from the earliest descriptions made by Dutch seafar

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