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Aboriginal Dress in the Kimberley, Western Australia

Kim Akerman

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

Encyclopedia entry

As in most other areas of Australia, the Aboriginals of the Kimberley were traditionally unclothed. For them, dress consisted of headbands and hair belts. Pubic tassels (made by tying multiple strands of spun fur or hair string into a mop, suspended over the genital area) were worn occasionally. Other elements of dress consisted of ornaments made from feathers, fibers, animal teeth, or shell, the use of which was often dictated by the ceremonial and social status of the wearer. More complex ornam

Aboriginal Skin Cloaks

Fabri Blacklock

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

Encyclopedia entry

In customary societies Aboriginal people were minimally clothed until contact with Europeans began to alter their habits. One exception was the skin cloaks widely worn by men and women throughout temperate zones of southeastern and western Australia. Cloaks were their main article of dress, important as rugs for warmth, but also for ceremonial use, trade, and as burial shrouds. Indigenous peoples made a variety of cloaks from different types of skin: possums, kangaroos, wallabies, and other fur-b

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

Dressing the Body in the Western Desert, Australia

Diana Young

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

Encyclopedia entry

The accounts of Aboriginal people themselves and other historical documentation suggest that from the time indigenous people came into contact with European clothes and other textiles such as blankets and woolen yarns, they were highly desirous of them. That period of contact was later in Central Australia than elsewhere (except perhaps eastern Arnhem Land). In the Western Desert, the area south and west of what came to be called Alice Springs on Arrernte country, it was as late as the 1950s and

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