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Disciplined Dress

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Chapter Summary

This chapter starts with an analysis of Ambonese and European disciplined dress according to the dress typology. Disciplined Ambonese dress was dissociated from the self, as it was a dress style. The ethnic dress system enforced Ambonese and colonial standards and values, and visually marked the Ambonese male as a minor in colonial society. The development of Ambonese women's dress throughout Dutch colonial times is testimony to the independent, creative and visual position ethnic women occupied during this time. Christian Ambonese middle-class women were named Nona Cenela (Mrs Slipper) after their shoes, the decorated toe slippers called cenela. The kebaya rendah is distinctly different from the kebaya worn on Ambon. It is a more fitted, shaped garment just skimming the hips. Muslim women's dress developed according to traditional religious dress standards. For the Ambonese, sustaining a particular routine of care underscored their need to maintain a certain identity.

Keywords: disciplined Ambonese dress; Dutch colonial times; Muslim women's dress; Nona Cenela



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