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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

Benin

Joseph C.E. Adande

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

Encyclopedia entry

The Republic of Benin is bounded in the south by the Atlantic Ocean, in the north by Niger and Burkina Faso, in the east by Nigeria, and in the west by Togo. Thus, it naturally shares both history and culture with the peoples of these neighboring countries. In Benin, clothing, regardless of definition, is as complex and varied as its numerous linguistic groups. In the Benin Republic, Vodun adepts and masquerade performers dress primarily to please their gods and offer them the appropriate manifes

Overview of Mongolia

Monisha Ahmed

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

Encyclopedia entry

Walking down the main street in Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s capital, past gray, crumbling Soviet-era buildings, a woman wearing a blue silk del, or robe, contrasts with the robust man by her side in a sober, gray Western-style suit. Walking alongside them are women in skinny jeans, fitted T-shirts, and stiletto heels. But far from the city, a nomad wears his sheepskin robe, sitting astride his horse. Mongolia has many faces. Probably the most celebrated of these is Chinggis Khaan, better known by his

Ladakh

Monisha Ahmed

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

Encyclopedia entry

Situated in the upper reaches of the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, Ladakh is India’s high-altitude border region, characterized by an extraordinary desertlike landscape where barren mountains thrust toward an intensely blue sky, punctuated by green oases that reveal human habitation. Living in extreme weather conditions where temperatures drop to minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 50 degrees Celsius) in winter and rise to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius)in summer, Ladakh’s i

Himalayan Buddhist Communities

Monisha Ahmed

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

Encyclopedia entry

Dress among the Himalayan Buddhist communities of India reflects the physical, socioeconomic and cultural environment prevalent there. The fabrics used for clothing extend from elaborately patterned silk brocade garments to simple homespun materials. Tibetan styles have predominantly influenced the dress worn in these areas. The men of Lahaul, Spiti, and Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh wear woolen caps and coats, cotton shirts, and trousers. In Kinnaur female dress comprises Tibetan-style robes with

Dress of the Exile: Tibetan

Monisha Ahmed and Susan Vickery

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

Encyclopedia entry

The most enduring symbol of Tibet’s struggle for freedom is its national flag—a mountain with two snow lions in the foreground and in the background the sun, surrounded by red and blue bands. With the words “Free Tibet” added, it is embroidered onto T-shirts, screen-printed on bags, made into labels for shawls, and knitted into hats and baby sweaters. The design of the flag dates from the seventh century, when various regiments within the Tibetan army had military flags depicting single or paired

Somalia

Heather Marie Akou

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

Encyclopedia entry

Somalia is located in the Horn of Africa. The northern coast is less than one hundred miles from the Arabian Peninsula and shares a great deal of history and dress with that region. In the cities, houses are built with thick walls to keep out the heat; in the deserts, nomadic people live in shelters constructed of branches covered with leather or plastic, and distinct differences in dress exist. Nomadic dress has typically been more practical and flexible, consisting of leather, cotton wrappers,

Iraqi Dress

Ulrike Al-Khamis and Saad Lafta Hami

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

Encyclopedia entry

Iraq is one of the largest countries in southwestern Asia. It is bordered by Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria and Jordan to the west, and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to the south. Iraq’s capital is Baghdad. Geographically, the country combines three distinct regions: fertile mountain regions in the north, the rich alluvial valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, and expansive, arid desert plains in the west. Both the terrain and the bordering countries have had an influence on dress.

Omani Dress

Julia M. Al-Zadjali

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

Encyclopedia entry

The English-speaking travelers of the past referred to Oman as the hidden corner of Arabia, yet Oman was and remains well known to its neighbors. It has an elaborate and rich history in the region, and the striking similarities to Oman’s neighbors that are found in dress throughout the country suggest that Oman has experienced many cultural, trade, and economic friendships over the centuries, which have left their mark. It is only in the early twenty-first century that attention is being paid to

Lower Niger Delta Peoples and Diaspora

Martha G. Anderson and E. J. Alagoa

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

Encyclopedia entry

The inhabitants of the Niger Delta speak dozens of languages and represent nine different language groups. Populations range in size from the Ijo, a diverse group of about two million who live in communities spread throughout the Delta, to the Defaka, who number only about two hundred and occupy a single village. Larger groups include the Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri, Ikwerre, Ekpeye, Ogoni, and Obolo (or Andoni). Most Delta groups have maintained their own languages and distinct identities, but they

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

Pakistan

Nasreen Askari

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

Encyclopedia entry

Pakistan, seat of one of the civilizations of the ancient world, was created as a country in 1947; historically, however, its location has made it a crucible in which influences from Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and China have fused with the indigenous traditions of the region. The regional dress and textile traditions of Pakistan, the Pathan, the Punjabi, the Baluch, and the Sindhi, have evolved a range of forms, techniques, and designs that is a distillation not only of loca

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ethnic Dress

Svetlana Bajić

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

Encyclopedia entry

Ethnic dress in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which preserved rather archaic and diversified items of clothing, mostly belonged to the Dinaric type (the dress of western Bosnia and Herzegovina); the central Bosnian type (the dress of the areas around the Bosna River, east of the Drina River, westward through the Lasva River valley up to the town of Travnik, and southward to Mount Ivan); and the Pannonian type (the dress typical of the Posavina area along the right bank of the Sava River and the lower p

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

Introduction to Southeast Asia

Ruth Barnes

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

Encyclopedia entry

Southeast Asia comprises two distinct areas, the mainland and an archipelago of islands extending from Sumatra to the Philippines and the Moluccas. Both the mainland and the archipelago have exceptionally rich traditions of adorning the human body. Dress acts as a social indicator, and dress requirements are associated with religious and social ceremonies. The earliest detailed representations of Southeast Asian dress come from religious edifices dating from the ninth century. Ordinary people’s d

Introduction to Dress and Fashion in East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus

Djurdja Bartlett

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

Encyclopedia entry

The regions of East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus are known for their richly embroidered ethnic clothing. The varied styles of ethnic dress and the associated social practices throughout these regions were strongly influenced by both ancient traditions and highly diverse climatic and geographic conditions, ranging from subtropical to Arctic and from high mountains and rolling plains to northern oceans and southern seas. But the rich history of dress in this vast area is not confined to ethnic

Fashion under Socialism

Djurdja Bartlett

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

Encyclopedia entry

The relationship between dress and Socialism started in Soviet Russia following the 1917 Communist Revolution. When Soviet-style Socialism was introduced in East Europe in 1948, dress became an important ideological and practical issue in the countries under Soviet political control. However, the styles of garments, and the discourses in which they were embedded, were not homogeneous in the Soviet Union and the East European countries during the seventy-two years of Communist rule. Both similarit

Balkan Outlaws and Bandits

William Bartlett

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

Encyclopedia entry

Medieval Balkan societies were predominantly rural. Gradually conquered by the Ottoman Turks from the mid-fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries, they were increasingly taxed during Ottoman rule in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Tax exemptions were gradually rescinded, leading to the growth of banditry. The bandits, known as gusars, hajduks, klephtes, or uskoks, were often men unable or unwilling to pay increased taxes, who had been expelled from their land or had escaped from serfd

Morocco

Cynthia J. Becker

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

Encyclopedia entry

Morocco has long been a crossroads between Europe, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa, and dress reflects the richness of its history as well as its geographic and cultural diversity. Forty to sixty percent of the Moroccan population is Berber, and many Berbers have retained their indigenous language. After the Phoenicians and then the Romans settled in Morocco and encountered the Berbers, Arabs moved into Morocco in the seventh century, founding the city of Fes and gradually converting the

Tsonga Dress and Fashion

Rayda Becker

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

Encyclopedia entry

All Tsonga in South Africa originate from Mozambique. A small group, they have a complex history involving various migrations and names; Tsonga now primarily denotes a language. In the early 1900s Tsonga women wore skirts made of imported cotton, and beaded jewelry. Later the skirts became shorter and fuller and are now made of wool. The main changes over the last century involve the upper body, the beaded necklaces worn in the 1930s giving way to blouses and T-shirts, worn with the minceka, two

Jewelry of Malaysia

Mohammed Kassim Bin Haji Ali

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

Encyclopedia entry

Beads were one of the earliest forms of manufactured body ornaments worn by indigenous groups in Malaysia. Some beads found in Borneo can be dated to the Metal Age. Earlier glass and stone beads that came from as far away as Egypt and Mesopotamia through bartering have become very valuable and are much sought after in the early twenty-first century; in earlier times they were sometimes used as currency. The ancient tradition remains strong, and status and wealth are measured according to the numb

Serbia: Ethnic Dress

Jasna Bjeladinović

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

Encyclopedia entry

In its rich creative textiles, its role in everyday life and in providing ethnic identity, as well as its visual and aesthetic values, ethnic dress is one of the most valuable and beautiful creations of the cultural heritage of the Serbs. Serb ethnic dress is known mostly due to preserved collections of clothing sets from the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century and is characterized by a great variety of forms, trimmings, ornaments, and colors. Its splendor is obvious

Malawi

Barbara W. Blackmun

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

Encyclopedia entry

Landlocked Malawi is situated in southeast Africa. It has a large lake, a varied topography and climate, and a diverse population. Dress traditions reflect the country’s checkered history, involving foreign influence through migration, trade, and invasion. Nguni warriors from Natal conquered lakeside farming communities in the 1850s, and Arab and Yao slave traders later devastated the land, which became a British protectorate in 1890. Previously, the Maravi and Yao peoples were renowned ironworke

Kilt

Andrew Bolton

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The kilt as we know it today originated in the first quarter of the eighteenth century. Known to the Gaelic-speaking Highlander as the “little wrap” (feileadh beag), it evolved from the “big wrap” (feileadh mor), or belted plaid, the first identifiably “Scottish” costume that emerged in the late sixteenth century. Earlier, the Scottish Gaels had worn the same clothes as their Irish counterparts, namely a shirt known in Gaelic as the léine and a semicircular mantle known in Gaelic as the brat.

Performance Dress in China and Taiwan

Alexandra B. Bonds, Dongshin Chang and Elizabeth Johnson

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

Encyclopedia entry

Over three hundred forms of indigenous theater entertainment incorporating song and music have evolved in China, with different forms of music-dramas being performed in specific regions throughout the country. Among these forms, Kunqu (songs of Kunshan) took shape in the Lower Yangtze region of China in the mid-sixteenth century, attained national popularity in the following two centuries, and is still thriving in the early twenty-first century. Jingju (capital drama), commonly known in the West

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