Perhaps no art in Oceania is so diverse and exciting as the traditional clothing of the people. Without the traditional clothing fibers of mainland areas, the various people of the islands made their garments from bark, reeds, grasses, flowers, hair, shells, feathers, teeth, and whatever they could gather.
The influx of western culture has overtaken some traditions, and nowadays t-shirts and sandals are just as common as feathers and reeds. However, many tribes still practice the traditional clothing culture. Below, the people of Papua New Guinea display their traditional clothing. In most day-to-day activities the people hardly wear anything at all, but ceremonies and special events call for special dress.
The Huli people are famous for their wigmen, adult men of the tribe who grow their hair long to make ceremonial wigs. They are known for elaborate, festive costumes.
The Maori of New Zealand are also known for their beautiful traditional dress, or "kakahu". In addition to their elaborate tattoos, the Maori make garments of bark cloth (kapa) and other materials noted for distinct colrs (red, black, and yellow) and zig-zag patterns. Tourists and visitors can regularly see traditional costume and dances performed throughout the island.
Want to see more?
Jane Resture's Oceania
©2007 Jessica Moss