Miao/Hmong in Australia

Wronska-Friend, Maria (2010) Miao/Hmong in Australia. In: Dhamija, Jasleen, (ed.) South Asia and Southeast Asia. Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, 4 . Berg, Oxford, UK, pp. 459-465.

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Abstract

The study of dress of the Hmong, or Miao as known in China, who have resettled in Australia, represents an interesting case study of the transformation of tribal garments placed in the context of an industrialized society. The Hmong, whose original homelands are situated in Southeast Asia, arrived in Australia in the late 1970s and 1980s as political immigrants, following the Indo-Chinese War. Festive dress for the Hmong has always been the major form of artistic expression, and although in Australia, this dress has retained its role as an outlet for creative skills and visual markers of ethnic identity, at the same time it has undergone significant changes. The small market prevented development of local commercial production of Hmong dress, and therefore, in most cases, the items are assembled from materials and semicompleted products sent from overseas, providing tangible testimony of transnational networks established by the Hmong migrants. Newly composed, eclectic dress styles have emerged, and subgroup affiliation, in the original social context expressed though the type of dress worn (Blue, White, or Striped Hmong) has been frequently compromised, as in the social milieu of Australia it has become more important to express pan-Hmong identity than subgroup differentiation. Unlike festive dress, religious and ritual garments remain unchanged (shaman’s dress, funeral clothes), as they continue to act as vital accessories supporting the religious system, which is still strongly observed.

Item ID: 16916
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: textiles, dress, Asia, Australia
ISBN: 978-1-84788-393-3
Date Deposited: 08 May 2011 23:17
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 60%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169903 Studies of Asian Society @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950502 Understanding Asias Past @ 50%
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