episode #95 nonclassical Europe and pre-Columbian Americas fashion

moss on tree branch, West Kirby

Ancient nonclassical Europe

Animal furs and hides made up the chief garments during the European Stone Age. They would be held to the body by a thong belt and by pins at the shoulder. 

The advent of the Bronze Age varies in time and expression from one part of Europe to another. The art of bronze working came to Italy from the Middle East and then spread westward to Britain and Scandinavia. During the years 1500–600 BCE the arts of spinning and weaving were further developed; simple natural dyes were used; and decoration was by embroidery, fringing, and plaiting.

A different type of dress was worn by the nomadic peoples who lived on the Steppe, a grassy plain that stretches from Hungary to Manchuria. Their attire being suited to their way of life, both sexes wore similar garments consisting of a woolen tunic over a shirt and wide trousers. 

he 6th-century-BCE Hallstatt culture of the Bavarian and Bohemian areas had an advanced lifestyle for its time. Finds from this early phase of the Iron Age, however, are chiefly weapons and jewellery. In the 4th century BCE the Celts from central Europe, or at least some of their styles and methods of manufacture, moved into Italy and thence on to Britain, Ireland, and Spain.

Pre-Columbian Americas

Cloth was rarely made in the region north of the Rio Grande, although many cultures there made finely woven baskets. The California Indians and the Northwest Coast Indians also wove capes and hats from plant fibres. Most people wore clothing made from the skins of local animals, such as deer, elk, buffalo, moose, beaver, otter, wolf, fox, and squirrel. Native Americans employed animal oils, particularly those found in the brains of the animal, to produce a softly textured material that they then dyed in brilliant/ very bright colours. Native Americans pierced the edges of skins with bone or stone awls and then threaded the edges together with animal sinew or fibre cordage. 

he clothing of the Eskimo (Inuit and Yupik/ Yupiit) and Aleut was adapted to the Arctic cold and had much in common with that worn in the Siberian Arctic. This clothing was made from animal skins, but because of the climate it was sewn and tailored to the body to keep out the wind. The fur of the animal was retained, and garments were often worn fur side in. Thread was made of animal sinew, awls for piercing the skin were generally stone, and needles were of bone or ivory. 

In Central and South America lived the Aztec, the Maya, and the Inca. The Aztec settled in Mexico about the 12th century. Their capital city, Tenochtitlán, which they established in the 14th century, was on the present-day site of Mexico City. The men wore loincloths, the women tunics and skirts, all made from woven cotton fabric. Ornamental cloaks were worn as garments of rank. The Aztec elite wore a great deal of jewellery, mainly made of gold.

The Maya came to Guatemala about 800 BCE and spread into the Yucatán Peninsula. Their culture flourished chiefly between 250 and 900 CE. They also wore few garments: a loincloth for men and a cloak when needed; a loose sleeveless dress or blouse and skirt for women. Cotton and sisal were cultivated; women were responsible for spinning and weaving these fibres. An important part of Mayan decoration was provided by feathers from birds of brilliant plumage, which were skilfully incorporated into the weaving processes.

The Inca came from the valley of Cuzco in the high mountains of Peru. During the 15th century they established a powerful empire of several million people in what are now Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, and extending into parts of Argentina and Chile. Their attire was brightly coloured and decorated by feathers—indeed some of their fine cloaks were made entirely of feathers woven into a cotton fabric base. They kept herds of llamas for wool and hunted other animals, such as the chinchilla, for their fur.

Spoken Word

W.B. Yeats: The Lake Isle of Innisfree (read by Anthony Hopkins)


Bonobo: Animals

Cocteau Twins: Cherry-Coloured Funk

N*E*R*D feat. Nelly Furtado: Hot-N-Fun

Jazztronik: Beauty-Flow (Incognito Session)

Nora Dean: Ay Ay Ay Ay (Angele-Lala)

Stelvio Cipriani: Papaya [Colonna sonora del film ”La polizia ha le mani legate’’]

Angelo Badalamenti: Llama Country

Ennio Morricone: Death Rides A Horse (Theme) [From the movie ‘Death Rides A Horse’]

BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Ghostface Killah: Food

Boards of Canada: In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country

A community radio midnight show Through the Bohemian Looking Glass is aired Sunday, Tuesday and Friday night at midnight (GMT), that means you stay late on Saturday, Monday and Thursday. A new episode is aired every Sunday midnight on Wirral Wave radio or AirTime. Later on SoundCloud for some time.