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Yoruba in Nigeria and Diaspora

Rowland Abiodun

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Yoruba people number well over thirty million from about sixteen ancient kingdoms. They spread all over southwestern Nigeria and extend well into the neighboring countries of Benin and Togo. The Yoruba have been urbanized since the first millennium c.e. and are well known for their fine artistic achievements, especially the naturalistic life-size bronze heads and terra-cotta sculptures of Ile-Ife. In addition to being among the most accomplished carvers in wood and ivory in Africa, the Yoruba

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

Early History of Dress and Fashion in the Nordic Countries

Eva B. Andersson, Margarita Gleba, Ulla Mannering and Marianne Vedeler

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Nordic countries comprise Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Aaland, Finland, Iceland, the Faroes, and Greenland. The northernmost part of Germany and the Norse community on Greenland are also considered here to be within this cultural area. Denmark has abundant Bronze and Early Iron Age finds, while Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Greenland have yielded more medieval material. From about 4200 b.c.e., textiles appear at Danish sites; Early Bronze Age graves have yielded complete garments, including women’

Pins and Rings as Head Ornaments in Early Iron Age Southwest Germany

Bettina Arnold and Sabine Hopert Hagmann

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

Encyclopedia entry

Iron Age populations in west-central Europe used various types of personal ornament to communicate membership in a range of social categories, including gender, age, and social status. Adult women in particular made use of elaborate hairstyles as a foundation for complex sets of pins, rings, and pendants, some attached to what appear to have been veils or other forms of head covering. In southwest Germany sets of up to a dozen rings and pins have been found in burials dating between 600 and 450 B

Mali

Mary Jo Arnoldi

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

Encyclopedia entry

Mali, in West Africa, is landlocked and borders seven countries. Although Mali has experienced rapid urbanization since the mid-twentieth century, the majority of Malians still live in rural communities. There are over fourteen ethnic groups in Mali. The basic everyday dress of cotton tunics, knee-length trousers, and caps for men, and wrappers and shawls for women remained popular in rural communities in south-central Mali well into the mid-twentieth century. Ethnic variations do exist but are m

Jewelry of Indo-Pakistan and Bangladesh

Usha Bala

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

Encyclopedia entry

The vibrant tradition of Indian jewelry spans five thousand continuous years. Ancient Indians wore jewels of natural materials like shells and tusks, thought to have magical properties. Precious metals were coveted. Gold was regarded as a symbol of the sun; chandi, the term for silver, came from the Sanskrit chandra, meaning moon. Metals were regularly melted. Remarkably well-preserved gold and silver items excavated at Taxila, in modern-day Pakistan, constitute the largest cache of jewelry survi

The Turban: India and Pakistan

Vandana Bhandari

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

Encyclopedia entry

Since ancient times the turban has constituted an important part of male dress on the Indian Subcontinent. Its basic form is a wrapped headdress made from a length of fabric that is coiled or pleated and wound around the head. The type of fabric, its dimensions, color, ornament, and style of wrapping may vary, but the essential concept, purpose, and mode of construction remain the same throughout the different regions where it is worn. The turban was known by several Sanskrit names in antiquity—u

Greenland

Cunera Buijs

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

Encyclopedia entry

The extremes of the Arctic climate set Greenland dress apart from dress in the rest of West Europe. It is made from the skins and furs of animals and birds and is highly adapted to the conditions and lifestyle of the Arctic people. Even so there are distinctive regional dress cultures of the West Greenlanders (Kilaamiut), Northwest Greenlanders (Inughuit), and East Greenlanders (Tunumiit). It was only in the twentieth century that the dress of Greenlanders began to be influenced by dress in the r

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

Miao National Minority

Gina Corrigan

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

Encyclopedia entry

Today, the Miao ethnic minority live in southwestern China, their population totaling 8.9 million. Miao origins and migrations are controversial and poorly documented, but we know that attempts to subdue them have been difficult. Miao in remote mountain regions developed many garments, expressing cultural identity. In 2000 a book published in China illustrated 173 different styles of Miao dress. Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the female population in the countryside again adopted trad

Evidence about Dress in the United States

Jean L. Druesedow

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

Encyclopedia entry

Dress is one of the most informative aspects of our culture. It reveals the personal aesthetic of the wearer in response to specific times, places, and events. Through dress one can often ascertain the age, sex, occupation, socioeconomic status, and religion of the wearer. One can investigate life rituals, family relationships, cross-cultural, and regional attitudes. One of the most persistent problems in dress history is the changing definition of the word costume. It is used by historians and c

Archaeological Evidence: Japan

Mary M. Dusenbury

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

Encyclopedia entry

Japan’s climate and soil conditions are not conducive to the preservation of organic materials. Information about the dress and adornment of the inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago in the prehistoric and protohistoric periods must be gleaned primarily from nontextile archaeological finds and from contemporary Chinese, Korean, and Japanese documents. In the mid-seventh century, at a time when the emerging Japanese state was actively patterning itself on continental models, important textiles a

Archaeological Evidence: China and Inner Asia

Zhao Feng and Kuang Yanghua

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

Encyclopedia entry

During the twentieth century, archaeological finds relating to dress have been recovered in large quantities in China. While some of the garments were made specifically as grave goods, most, it is assumed, are garments used in life to celebrate status and position. These include figures in wood, pottery, jade, and stone, as well as depictions of human figures in murals, paintings, and embroideries.

Photographic and Other Visual Sources

Christraud M. Geary

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

Encyclopedia entry

Dress in Africa has attracted the attention of foreign observers since the earliest encounters with peoples on the continent. Whether they deemed it exotic, curious, ugly, beautiful, or comical, writers of all backgrounds often mentioned and depicted dress in their publications. From the seventeenth century onward, descriptions of Africa were published with engravings, woodcuts, and, later, lithographs, among other types of illustrations, that helped readers to envision faraway worlds and peoples

Early History of Dress and Fashion in Italy and the Iberian Peninsula

Carmen Alfaro Giner and Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli

Translated by Ana Alacovska

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

Encyclopedia entry

Rock engravings in Valcamonica, Italy, indicate the use of looms and thus weaving in the second millennium b.c.e. Tunics were worn by both men and women during pre-Roman times in the Iberian Peninsula.Italian regions colonized by Greece in the eighth century b.c.e. were influenced by Hellenic fashion. The Roman royal period lasted from 753 to 509 b.c.e., followed by the republic and the empire. Clothing during the first two periods was largely austere, although wealth and refinement characterized

Linen

Margarita Gleba

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

Encyclopedia entry

Since prehistory, linen, made from flax, has been one of the most widely used textile materials. Linen does not take easily to natural dyes, so before the advent of synthetic colorants it was rarely dyed. Linen is particularly suitable for utilitarian fabrics, owing to its strength, low elasticity, and durability. The earliest known textiles are linen. In Europe, flax was cultivated by the second half of the seventh millennium b.c.e. Some surviving fabrics are so fine that they still cannot be du

Early Iranian Textiles and Their Influence on Pre-Islamic Dress

Irene Good

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

Encyclopedia entry

Some of the earliest evidence for the use of sheep’s wool can be found in Iran. Much influence and importation of style on dress in Iran can be attributed to both Eastern and Western sources during the later pre-Islamic period, from China to the Levant and even Rome, although textile technology and production has also experienced internal developments and been influenced by local trends. Historically, some cloth was woven in bolts to be cut for garments; other types of cloth were woven garments t

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

Cambodia: Historical Dress

Gillian Green

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

Encyclopedia entry

The origin of the indigenous Khmer people of Cambodia has not yet been unambiguously determined. Archaeological evidence of human habitation as long ago as 4200 b.c.e. has been found in the northwest of the region. Human bones found at Samrong Sen, dated to 1500 b.c.e., have characteristics suggesting an ancestral relationship to modern Khmer. Research published in the 1990s suggests that the Austro-Asiatic peoples, the ethnolinguistic group to which the Khmer belong, originate from the Yangzi Ri

Pre-Islamic Dress Codes in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia

Mary Harlow and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

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

Encyclopedia entry

In pre-Islamic Southwest Asia, dress was an important indicator of status, providing a portable method for expressing wealth, skill, and rank, as well as affiliations and individuality, all factors that contribute to social status. Ancient Southwest Asian dress was complex and loaded with symbolism, such as color codification. Decoration, such as a border, expressed information about different types of status through its width and position on a garment. Many garments, for example, were decorated

The Southeast

Jason Baird Jackson

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

Encyclopedia entry

The North American Indians of what is today the Southern or Southeastern United States possess a rich system of dress that can be traced from the late pre-Colonial period through the Colonial era to the present. As this is done, patterns of continuity and change over time can be seen as can the ways that native and nonnative materials, forms, and practices were creatively blended by native peoples to formulate regionally and locally distinctive modes of dress. In pre-Colonial times, the peoples o

Hellenistic Jewelry

Monica M. Jackson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Hellenisticjewelry (ca. 323–31 b.c.e.) was conceptually sophisticated. It combined new forms from the East with homogeneity of style and virtuosity of technique. Workshop competitiveness and a willingness to experiment with structure and design ensured that the goldsmith and toreutic artist achieved complete mastery over the material. The major centers of production were northern Greece (Macedonia, Thrace, and Thessaly), southern Italy, southern Russia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt.

Historical Evidence: Japan

Alan Kennedy

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

Encyclopedia entry

In no other civilization has historical dress been so carefully preserved and documented as in Japan. This unique approach stems from its ancient tradition of above-ground storage. The earliest, most important costumes surviving above ground in Japan comprise nine patchwork Buddhist robes, preserved in a temple complex founded in the eighth century c.e. Even foreign non-Buddhist robes can be found in Japanese Buddhist temples. Various sixteenth-century dragon robes, gifted from the Chinese court,

Beads and Beadwork

Sandra Klopper

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

Encyclopedia entry

Although today most African communities purchase locally manufactured and imported glass beads for daily and ritual use, indigenous communities originally relied on locally available materials such as seeds and ostrich eggshells or marine shells to adorn themselves and their leather garments. Recent discoveries in Morocco indicate that deliberately perforated Nassarius marine shells, some still smeared with red ochre, were manufactured eighty-two thousand years ago. Because some of these marine s

Georgia

Irina Koshoridze

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The history of Georgian ethnic dress is closely related to the history of textiles in this region. Simultaneously, the nature of the country, ethnic differences between the regions, the political orientations of the different regions, contemporary fashions, and foreign influences also played important roles in the formation of this dress.

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