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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

The Northwest Coast

Kathryn B. Bunn-Marcuse

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Pacific Northwest Coast has long been known for its elaborate and distinctive art styles. This attention to form and expression is no less true for clothing, especially ceremonial clothing, than for totem poles and masks. On the Northwest Coast clothing conveys identity, status, and wealth among its indigenous people, wrapping wearers in their clan and familial identities. Today, this is most clearly seen in ceremonial regalia worn on important public occasions; but dress has always provided

Body and Beauty

Patrizia Calefato

Translated by Sveva Scaramuzzi

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The concept of human “race” was extended for the first time from its meaning of “lineage” or “descent” by Georges Cuvier (1769–1823) who gave it a classificatory, hierarchical meaning. During the nineteenth century, this conception led to racial biology and eugenics. Notwithstanding the researchers’ intentions, the idea of “race” constituted the basis for nineteenth- and twentieth-century racist ideologies. The idea of feminine beauty also evolved in relation to the genesis of racism. Fashion bec

Igbo in Nigeria and Diaspora

Herbert M. Cole

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

One of the largest populations of West African peoples at over twenty million, the Igbo have a history of dress and personal decoration lasting over one thousand years. The archaeological sites of Igbo Ukwu, dating from the ninth and tenth centuries c.e., begin this record in the heart of Igbo country, twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) east of the Niger River and about one hundred miles (one hundred sixty-one kilometers) north of the Atlantic Ocean. Although the documentation is largely blank

Dress in Art: Worldwide

Sandra Lee Evenson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Details about identity are conveyed through dress, which plays an important role in the arts worldwide. The visual arts comprise painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, rendering, illustration, tapestry, mosaic, and masks. Visual evidence of people using dress dates to the Upper Paleolithic, forty-five thousand to ten thousand years ago; the plump stone “Venus Figures” appear to have styled hair and skirts made out of string fringe. In the visual arts dress acts as a shorthand method of co

Display Mannequins

Leopoldina Fortunati

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Although the dress mannequin is usually considered marginal within the marketing and displaying of fashionable clothing, it can be analyzed as a key cultural artifact in the fashion system. The display mannequin is part of an archaic imagery of humankind, similar to automatons, robots, and dolls. At a metaphoric level, it has an importance in Western culture, because on a symbolic plane the mannequin replaces the human being. In fashion, the mannequin engages in the dialogue between the container

The Sash, Patka, or Kamarband

B. N. Goswamy

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

Encyclopedia entry

The patka—known in its many variations by other names: kamarband, cummerbund, sash, waistband, girdle, phenta, and the like—is the long, elegant textile strip that once adorned nearly every noble waist in India and South Asia. The patka may have found its finest, most sumptuous expression in the Mughal period, but its history is long. The word itself, for all the medieval associations it carries, seems to go back to early Sanskrit and is probably derived from patta—defined in Monier Monier-Willia

The Sari

Aarti Kawlra

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

Encyclopedia entry

The word sari refers to the unstitched length of cloth that serves as the principal component of a clothing ensemble that most often includes a bodice and a petticoat. Known widely as the national dress of the Indian woman, the sari is a draped item of clothing whose contemporary sartorial expression has evolved over centuries of exchange between indigenous cultures and foreign influence. Historical records of the textile trade from India include mention of saris woven in special designs and tech

The Virgin Mary and the Veil

Christina Lindholm

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As much as the veil is fabric or an article of clothing, it is also a concept. It can be illusion, vanity, artifice, deception, liberation, imprisonment, euphemism, divination, concealment, hallucination, depression, eloquent silence, holiness, the ethers beyond consciousness, the hidden hundredth name of God, the final passage into death, even the biblical apocalypse, the lifting of God’s veil, signaling so-called end times. When veiling is forced—then en-forced—it is repression. Yet, as we see

Art and Dress

Peter McNeil

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Academic art and popular dress emerge from different structural and intellectual systems. Nonetheless, fashion in the early twenty-first century often appears to be like art and art to be like fashion. Artists are viewed as the ideal collaborators with fashion designers and the fashion industry, injecting the type of cultural capital they embody into products that have become synonymous with innovation and novelty. Artists throughout the twentieth century intervened in fashion culture, their anti

Flowers in the Art of Dress across the World

Peter McNeil

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

When an object or motif is universal, there is a tendency to trivialize it. This is undoubtedly the case with the theme of flowers in its relationship to fashion and textiles. The floral motif is cross-cultural and ubiquitous but is connected in highly specific ways to different systems of social organization, personal adornment, and religious practice. The ways in which flowers and their representations are used highlight attitudes toward covering the body and adorning the head, as well as compl

Early History of Dress and Fashion in Continental West Europe

Mechthild Müller

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The discovery of the Iceman “Oetzi,” who lived between 3500 and 3000 b.c.e., provides valuable information on early dress. His many garments included a patchwork-style goat-fur mantle. Much later, Roman dress included tunics and togas for Roman citizens or friendly allied nations. In 816/817 Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, made monks and members of the clergy accept dress codes. Lay men and women were required to dress differently, and women had to cover their heads in public. Fashion during

Historical Evidence: Korea

Seongsil Park

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

Encyclopedia entry

Chinese neo-Confucianism was adopted by Emperor Taejo (1335–1408), the founder of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Society, including dress, was carefully regulated. Members of the court were classified into nine ranks. Gwanbok, or official dress, included separate wardrobes for court ceremonials, religious rites, and official and ordinary work, and there were rigorous sumptuary laws. In addition to pictorial and written documentation, there are numerous examples of garments and accessories as evi

Historical Evidence: Tibet

Valrae Reynolds

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

Encyclopedia entry

There is evidence of human habitation in Tibet since Neolithic times. Despite geographical isolation, Tibetans had links with ancient Eastern and European cultures. Chinese records from the seventh to tenth centuries, while emphasizing the civilizing Chinese influence on Tibetans, provide significant information. Homespun woolens have been excavated from Neolithic and later sites. Imported luxuries, especially silk, feature prominently in Tibetan texts. After the Tibetan empire collapsed in the n

Images as a Resource for the Study of Australian Dress

Margot Riley

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

Encyclopedia entry

Paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, illustrated newspapers, magazines, and newsreels provide vital sources of information about appearance, upper-class fashions, and the broader social picture of dress in Australia. Through such representations, the overall look and detail of attire survives long after original garments have disappeared. In the emerging penal society of colonial Australia, from the late eighteenth century, it was important for the well-to-do to cultivate the appearance of r

Dress and Art: Western

Sandra L. Rosenbaum

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Images of people wearing clothing create an obvious connection between dress and art. Because relatively few examples of historic garments survive, these images document the history of dress. Historically, those sitting for portraits chose their dress to project a specific image; the artist was responsible for conveying messages encoded in dress, meticulously reproducing them. Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass have commented that Renaissance clothes were perceived as material forms of pers

Turkish Costume Albums

Jennifer M. Scarce

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

Encyclopedia entry

The expansion of the Ottoman Turkish Empire—from modest beginnings in Anatolia during the thirteenth century to control over territories spanning the Balkans, the east coast of the Mediterranean and Egypt, much of North Africa, Iraq, and Arabia by the late sixteenth to early seventeenth centuries—provoked much concern and curiosity among the European states who encountered its power. From the late fifteenth century on, Europeans visited the capital, Istanbul, and the rest of the Ottoman world in

Mangbetu Dress

Enid Schildkrout and Curtis A. Keim

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In the early twentieth century, the Mangbetu and related peoples who live in the northeastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo became iconic symbols in the West of African high fashion. Their practices of head elongation and body painting and their wearing of distinctive fiber and feather hats, bark cloth, and women’s aprons were represented in their art works and in photographs and paintings by Western visitors. These images have persisted in the cultural iconography of the region until rece

Carnival

Lidia Sciama

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As anthropologists have found, people’s desire to abandon their workaday persona and temporarily adopt a different identity seems near universal. Carnival offers a ritual framework for people to act out their desires for alternative selves. Hierarchies are temporarily upturned; by acting as a safety valve, such reversals do not permanently change the social structure but reassert its validity at the end of the Carnival season. The Venice Carnival (for which the first written reference dates back

Early History of Dress and Fashion in Great Britain and Ireland

Naomi E.A. Tarrant

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Little is known about clothing in the British islands before the Roman invasion in 43 c.e.. What survives are cloth fragments and amazing jewelry such as brooches and torcs. Pre-Christian graves suggest that women wore tunics. The advent of Christianity possibly resulted in women covering their heads. The medieval period saw Europe stabilize after the raids and invasions of the Dark Ages. Trade increased greatly, much of it related to textiles. From the fourteenth century onward dress styles have

Spain

Silvia Ventosa

Translated by Lucy Lawton

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The influence of Spanish dress on European fashions is concentrated in two periods: the period of court life of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the moda a la española (Spanish-style fashion), and that of the majos, members of the Madrid artistic scene at the end of the eighteenth century and during the nineteenth century. The stereotypical image of the Spanish was fixed around 1800, an image that emanated from the south, from Andalusia, and this stereotype still survives in the early

The Management of Colour: The Kashmir Shawl in a Nineteenth-Century Debate

David Brett

Source: Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion 2nd Edition 2009

Book chapter

Writing about colour has always been difficult because colour is notoriously resistant to language. The inter-translatability of colour names and terms between languages is remarkably diffuse, which is a sure sign of their odd logical status. Even where we might expect coherent theory, in the art of painting, discourse on colour was generally defined (negatively) as against disegno, drawing as form and composition. This was true until the mid-nineteenth century, and remains influential. There is

‘Twisted’ Poses: The Kabuku Aesthetic in Early Edo Genre Painting

John T. Carpenter

Source: Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion 2nd Edition 2009

Book chapter

Kabuki as we know it today – a highly respectable ‘traditional’ theatre with male actors playing established roles in dramas with complex plots – did not emerge until the late seventeenth century. In its earliest manifestation, it was a dance theatre with female performers, whose dances and skits appealed to the warrior elite and commoner alike. The word for Kabuki drama is now properly written with three Chinese characters, ‘song’, ‘dance’, and ‘skill’, but it has a less flattering etymology rel

The Renaissance Beard: Masculinity in Early Modern England

Will Fisher

Source: Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion 2nd Edition 2009

Book chapter

This essay builds on Judith Butler's recent theoretical work in Bodies that Matter by suggesting that the sexual differences that “mattered” in early modern England are not exactly the same as those that “matter” today. In particular, it suggests that facial hair often conferred masculinity during the Renaissance: the beard made the man. The centrality of the beard is powerfully demonstrated by both portraits and theatrical practices. Indeed, virtually all men in portraits painted between the mid

Fleshing Out the Revolution

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth

Source: Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion 2nd Edition 2009

Book chapter

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