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Communicative Dress

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is divided into two parts: the first part presents an analysis of autochthonous Ambonese dress. The second part of the chapter examines the ultimate display of Ambonese identity: Ambonese bridal wear. Communicative dress is contingent on the need to (re) formulate and realize cultural identity. Autochthonous dress became the object that prescribed Adat principles and through which core Ambonese values and beliefs were communicated. Bridal dress was an idealized representation of Christian Ambonese culture, unlike the groom's suit, which was static and predictable by virtue of its appropriation of European identity. Bride wealth was a symbolic acknowledgement of the bride's potential to reproduce and ensure the clan's future, whereas the dowry was offered to realize this potential. Hair styling was an important part of the ritual involved in the preparation of the bride, but a truly unique feature of an Ambonese bride was her use of hair jewellery.

Keywords: Ambonese bridalwear; autochthonous Ambonese dress; communicative dress



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