Traditional wearable- Brazil

1024px-Índios_da_etnia_Terena2Brazilian Fashion / Wearable Fashion (Pre 1950’s)

When the European colonisers settled in Brazil in the time between the 16th to the 19th centuries, they brought into the country hordes of African slaves. These Africans had their own customs, traditions and cultures; many of which were in the form of song, dance and music.

The songs, dance and music are a huge part of this culture now.

Traditional Brazilian Clothing was also very colourful. Farmers with Llama’s would have colourful hats made from wool and Beautifully coloured striped Ponchos would keep them warm. They would even tie coloured wool ornaments around the animals necks.

Ceremonial clothing was used on special occasions. Faces were painted, feather head dresses and leaves were used.

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Most of the dances and music came from ancient African beats and customs.

Ceremonial costumes were made from very basic materials comprising of feathers, grass skirts and lots of very colourful jewellery.  Head-dresses and jewellery were made from berries, leaves, shells and whatever  they could collect  from around the area where they lived.

As time progressed the dances and costumes became much more elaborate.



Traditional ~Balinese

Balinese architecture is a vernacular style of architecture using local materials to help construct buildings, structures, and houses.. It is a centuries-old style of design that’s heavily influenced by Bali’s Hindu traditions, as well as ancient Javanese elements.

Materials commonly used in Balinese homes and buildings include thatch roofing, coconut wood, bamboo poles, teak wood, stone, and bricks. Using nature at its best to provide a man-made structure.

Traditional Balinese Architecture so intricate, balanced and has different colours in diversity of Indonesia Architecture.

Traditional Balinese Architecture is defined as the spatial structure of the contained Balinese life that has evolved from generation to generation with all the rules handed down from ancient times.

bali trad 3


Albesia or Belalu [ Albizia falcata ]

…white, soft wood — sometimes brown at the center, used for inexpensive, painted wood carvings. including.. Wooden Flowers , Toys and other Handicrafts.

Crocodile or Satin Wood [ Zanthoxylum Rhetsa ]

…white, relatively hard wood. Carvings usually have a very smooth finish — making them look a little like ivory.

Saur or Rain Tree [Samanea Saman]

…brown, hard wood — favoured wood of importers outside of the tropics because the crisscrossed, interlocking grain keeps the wood from cracking when moved to drier climates. It can be finished to a fairly high gloss.

Waru or Grey Hibiscus [ Hibiscus Tiliaceus ]

…white blended with light grey — the dark heartwood often makes for distinctive two-tone carvings. As this wood ages, the grey turns greenish — a very beautiful look. Grey hibiscus can be sanded to a very smooth finish.


History and Culture of Japanese Architecture

Japanese Architecture

Traditional Japanese architecture emphasized Harmony between buildings and and nature. The Japanese like the Chinese based their architecture on wooden post and beams. In the 800’s and the 900’s and from the 1200’s to the 1400’s, the Japanese closely followed the Chinese in the construction of Buddhist temples. Like the Chinese, they used strong colours and heavy material. However, Japanese homes quickly lost all Chinese character. By the 1000’s , Japanese homes completely expressed Japanese living condition. Like light traditional houses seen today, they were built of light, uncoloured materials. A narrow platform ran around the outside of the house on the first-floor level. This platform made the house seem closely connected with the family garden.

General features of Japanese traditional architecture

Much in the traditional architecture of Japan is not native, but was imported from China and other Asian cultures over the centuries. Japanese traditional architecture and its history are as a consequence dominated by Chinese and Asian techniques and styles (present even in Ise Shrine, held to be the quintessence of Japanese architecture) on one side, and by Japanese original variations on those themes on the other. Partly due also to the variety of climates in Japan and the millennium encompassed between the first cultural import and the last, the result is extremely heterogeneous, but several practically universal features can nonetheless be found. First of all is the choice of materials, always wood in various forms (planks, straw, tree bark, paper, etc.) for almost all structures. Unlike both Western and some Chinese architecture, the use of stone is avoided except for certain specific uses, for example temple podia and pagoda foundations.
The roof is the most visually impressive component, often constituting half the size of the whole edifice. The slightly curved eaves extend far beyond the walls, covering verandas, and their weight must therefore be supported by complex bracket systems called tokyō, in the case of temples and shrines. Simpler solutions are adopted in domestic structures. The oversize eaves give the interior a characteristic dimness, which contributes to the building’s atmosphere. The interior of the building normally consists of a single room at the center called moya, from which depart any other less important spaces. Even in cases as that of Nikkō Tōshō-gū, where every available space is heavily decorated, ornamentation tends to follow, and therefore emphasize, rather than hide, basic structures.Being shared by both sacred and profane architecture, these features made it easy converting a lay building into a temple or vice versa. This happened for example at Hōryū-ji, where a noblewoman’s mansion was transformed into a religious building.


Prehistoric period

The prehistoric period includes the Jōmon, Yayoi and Kofun periods stretching from approximately 5000 BCE to the beginning of the eighth century CE. During the three phases of the Jōmon period the population was primarily hunter-gatherer with some primitive agriculture skills and their behaviour was predominantly determined by changes in climatic conditions and other natural stimulants. Early dwellings were pit houses consisting of shallow pits with tamped earth floors and grass roofs designed to collect rainwater with the aid of storage jars. Later in the period, a colder climate with greater rainfall led to a decline in population, which contributed to an interest in ritual. Concentric stone circles first appeared during this time.

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Asuka and Nara architecture

The most significant contributor to architectural changes during the Asuka period was the introduction of Buddhism. New temples became centers of worship with tomb burial practices slowly became outlawed. Also, Buddhism brought to Japan and kami worship the idea of permanent shrines and gave to Shinto architecture much of its present vocabulary. Some of the earliest structures still extant in Japan are Buddhist temples established at this time.

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Heian period

At this time the architectural style of Buddhist temples began to influence that of the Shintō shrines. For example, like their Buddhist counterparts the Shintō shrines began to paint the normally unfinished timbers with the characteristic red cinnabar colour.

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Kamakura and Muromachi periods

During the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and the following Muromachi period (1336–1573), Japanese architecture made technological advances that made it somewhat diverge from its Chinese counterpart. In response to native requirements such as earthquake resistance and shelter against heavy rainfall and the summer heat and sun, the master carpenters of this time responded with a unique type of architecture, creating the Daibutsuyō and Zenshūyō styles.

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Azuchi-Momoyama period

During the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1568–1600) Japan underwent a process of unification after a long period of civil war. It was marked by the rule of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, men who built castles as symbols of their power; Nobunaga in Azuchi, the seat of his government, and Hideyoshi in Momoyama. The Ōnin War during the Muromachi period had led to rise of castle architecture in Japan. By the time of the Azuchi-Momoyama period each domain was allowed to have one castle of its own.

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Edo period

The Tokugawa shogunate took the city of Edo (later to become part of modern-day Tōkyō) as their capital. They built an imposing fortress around which buildings of the state administration and residences for the provincial daimyōs were constructed. The city grew around these buildings connected by a network of roads and canals. By 1700 the population had swollen to one million inhabitants. The scarcity of space for residential architecture resulted in houses being built over two stories, often constructed on raised stone plinths.

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Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods

Towards the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Western influence in architecture began to show in buildings associated with the military and trade, especially naval and industrial facilities. After the Emperor Meiji was restored to power (known as the Meiji Restoration) Japan began a rapid process of Western ization which led to the need for new building types such as schools, banks and hotels. Early Meiji Architecture was initially influenced by colonial architecture in Chinese treaty ports such as Hong Kong. In Nagasaki, the British trader Thomas Glover built his own house in just such a style using the skill of local carpenters. His influence helped the career of architect Thomas Waters who designed the Osaka Mint in 1868, a long, low building in brick and stone with a central pedimented portico. In Tōkyō, Waters designed the Commercial Museum, thought to have been the city’s first brick building.
Some architects built their reputation upon works of public architecture. Togo Murano, a contemporary of Raymond, was influenced by Rationalism and designed the Morigo Shoten office building, Tōkyō (1931) and Ube Public Hall, Yamaguchi Prefecture (1937). Similarly, Tetsuro Yoshida’s rationalist modern architecture included the Tōkyō Central Post Office (1931) and Ōsaka Central Post Office (1939).
A large number of buildings from the Meiji, Taishō and Shōwa eras were lost during and after World War II, such as the Rokumeikan. Taniguchi Yoshirō (谷口 吉郎, 1904–79), an architect, and Moto Tsuchikawa established Meiji Mura in 1965, close to Nagoya, where a large number of rescued buildings are re-assembled. A similar museum is the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum.
Colonial architecture
The colonial authorities constructed a large number of public buildings, many of which have survived. Examples include the large-scale concept of what is today Ketagalan Boulevard in central Zhongzheng District of Taipei that showcases the Office of the Governor-General, Taiwan Governor Museum, Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei Guest House, Judicial Yuan, the Kangyo Bank and Mitsui Bussan Company buildings, as well as many examples of smaller houses found on Qidong Street.

Late Showa period

After the war and under the influence of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, General Douglas MacArthur, Japanese political and religious life was reformed to produce a demilitarised and democratic country. Although a new constitution was established in 1947, it was not until the beginning of the Korean War that Japan (as an ally of the United States) saw a growth in its economy brought about by the manufacture of industrial goods. In 1946 the Prefabricated Housing Association was formed to try and address the chronic shortage of housing, and architects like Kunio Maekawa submitted designs. However, it was not until the passing of the Public Housing Act in 1951 that housing built by the private sector was supported in law by the government.

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Information of Japanese Architecture and picture:


Culture and Architectural Style of Vanuatu

The overwhelming majority of ni-Vanuatu are subsistence agriculturalists, living in small rural villages where activities revolve around the land. The constitution guarantees that land cannot be alienated from its ‘indigenous custom owners’, or traditional owners, and their descendants. More than an economic resource, land is the physical embodiment of the metaphysical link with the past, and identification with a particular tract of land remains one of the fundamental concepts governing ni-Vanuatu culture, although foreign developers have gained control over some land through long-term leases.

On many islands, men gather nightly at their local ‘nakamal’ (men’s house) to drink kava and communicate with the spirits of their ancestors, whose bones typically are buried nearby. Through magic stones, they attempt to contact and control the spiritual realm they view as all-pervasive. Among the vast majority of rural dwellers, historical custom, along with Christianity, continues to guide daily life.

Historic architecture in Vanuatu is primarily limited to housing, which was, and sometimes still is, very simple in design and appearance. These houses, called ‘tamma’, were traditionally triangular in shape (with the point of the triangle facing the direction from which tropical storms come), made of wood, and topped with a thatched roof. Most houses also had space for a garden nearby and each village usually had a community house.

With the arrival of the Europeans the buildings changed slightly. Stronger wood, joining materials, and roofing were introduced. New structures were also introduced, such as churches, schools, and other public buildings. These structures were often built in European styles and with western materials, such as concrete and bricks. Port-Vila, the capital city of Vanuatu, is perhaps the best and one of the only places to see modern constructions in Vanuatu.

Over time the people of Vanuatu have slowly adopted western-styled homes and today simple, clean, modern homes tend to dominate over traditional tammas. Again, this is especially true in Port-Vila and other urban centres as much of the population can afford to build modern homes.

Where I got my info:


History and Culture of Andalusia, Spain

Andalusia is Spain’s southernmost region, and home to many of the iconic cultural elements that make Spain stand out from the rest of Europe.and it’s the one which evokes the most powerful images of a country famed for its flamenco, fiestas, bullfighting and raw passion. The distinctly Andalusian way of life can be discovered in cities like Seville, Córdoba and Granada, as well as smaller towns like Cádiz, Jaén and Jerez de la Frontera. It has a distinctive culture influenced by its hot Mediterranean climate, its historical tolerance of diverse ethnic groups (including Jews and Gypsies), and, most important, its long period of rule by the Moors. The word “Andalusia” is derived from the Moorish name for Spain—Al-Andalus.


Andalusia was once occupied by the Romans, and later by the Visigoths. The Moors of North Africa conquered the region in the 8th century and dominated much of the Iberian Peninsula for several hundred years, instilling their culture in everything from the science and architecture to the food and drink. The Catholic monarchs of Spain would eventually reclaim Andalusia, and a blending of cultures ensued. Evidence of this cultural merger remains today, appearing almost everywhere in the region’s historic buildings and unique customs.

Traditional Arts and Crafts

In addition to their leather crafts, Andalusians are known for their ceramics, which are distinguished by the geometric designs that originated with the Moors. (Islamic culture prohibits the representation of living things in art.) The art of Andalusian builders and stone carvers has survived in such famous buildings as the Alhambra Palace in Granada, the Giralda Tower in Seville, and the mosque in the city of Córdoba.


Best known among Spain’s folkloristic tradition is certainly Flamenco. It is the musical tradition in the country’s south, in particular in Andalusia which is a passionate art form that has been burning in for nearly five hundred years. The genre has its influences in Jewish and Islamic music that was transformed by the gypsies of southern Spain. Flamenco features staccato tap dancing, rhythmic guitar strumming and passionate singing. Originally linked to vagabonds and the lower class, flamenco became the music of the masses. Rustic taverns and decorated caves have long been the preferred venues for flamenco, and visitors can still grab a drink and watch a live flamenco show in the numerous haunts around cities like Seville and Granada.

Traditional costumes can be seen at the region’s many festivals especially in flamenco dance performances. Women’s attire consists of solid-coloured or polka-dot dresses with tightly fitted bodices and flounced skirts and sleeves. These are worn with mantillas(lacy scarves worn over the hair and shoulders), long earrings, and hair ornaments such as combs or flowers. Male flamenco dancers wear white shirts with black suits and broad-brimmed black hats.

The flamenco dress was the basic day wear for the gypsies and low class Spanish women in the late XIX century and beginning of the following. It was basically worn to do the house work. However, with popularization and for the April Fair of Seville, woman began accompanying their husbands and for the occasion they wore their best dresses. Also became a way of breaking the barriers between high and low social classes. It turned into a way of showing off and standing out in such popular event. It quickly became known as the typical Andalusian dress, influencing many designers along the way, even in the present.


Origins of French Lingerie ~ Traditional Cultural Design




History of Lingerie Fabrics and Lingerie Styles

Lingerie’s unique history traces back to 3000 BC in Egypt. Figurines throughout ancient times suggested different types of undergarments were worn even then. The word Lingerie originated from the French word “linge” meaning “linen” and was not frequently used until the late 1850’s. The soft linen’s during the Middle Ages were worn by nobility for the sheer purpose of modesty, hygiene and warmth. At that time they were bulky, uncomfortable and designed to flatten breasts while contouring the body in a female silhouette. While in the 16th Century a chemise, petticoats and corsets were designed to accentuate the female form, mainly to tease and entice men. It was considered scandalous in those days to even mention the word undergarments.

In classical Greece, several female statues wear a crossed band over their shoulders and across the breast, as in the famous statue of the charioteer at Delphi. The Odyssey and Iliad mention women’s undergarments, as does Herodotus, Aristophanes, and the later Hellenistic writer Lacian (Ewing 1972). In these texts, women are described as wearing a band of linen known as the zoné around the waist and lower torso to shape and control them. Other Greek words also appear to describe women’s undergarments, including the apodesmos (meaning a band, breast band, or girdle), mastodeton (or breast band, which actually flattens the bust) and, occasionally, mastodesmos (with a similar meaning) (Ewing 1972). These garments appear to presage the bra as well as the corset.


A famous Roman mosaic from A.D. 400 shows several women wearing what appear to be bikinis or briefs

Roman women followed Greek fashion closely. The Roman poet Martial describes a cestus, which is similar to the Greek zoné but wider, and Cicero also mentions a strophium or breast band. Other Roman terms describing women’s underclothing include the mamillere and fascia, which were tight bands of cloth that primarily supported the bust rather than the abdomen. A famous mosaic from A.D. 400 shows several women wearing what appear to be bikinis or briefs (Ewing 1972). For both the Greeks and the Romans, underclothing (which sometimes was worn as outer clothing as well) was designed more for function than exclusively aesthetic reasons.

In France in particular, the Middle Ages saw the rise of French lingerie with the introduction of the chemise in the fourth century. However, it wasn’t until the fourteenth century that lingerie began to be used as a shaping garment in France with the introduction of the cotte – a stiff piece of linen that was slipped under the bodice to flatten out the breast.

Since Elizabethan times and the introduction of the corset, the French have been at the forefront of designing gorgeous and sexy underwear. What’s more, during the French Revolution, French women rejected the fashionable corset for more loose fitting underwear with only an inbuilt bustier.
The French Revolution in the late 1700s also revolutionized women’s lingerie. French women begin discarding petticoats, corsets, and camisoles as symbols of French aristocracy in favor of the “un-corset,” or a type of corset without stiffening. In a deliberate return to classic Greece, the birthplace of the freedom that revolutionary France was proclaiming, women sometimes would wear a band wrapped around the body similar to the Greek zoné under slim, high-waisted muslins that echoed Grecian rounded breasts and well-rounded figures (Ewing 1972).

The term lingerie was originally introduced into the English language in the 1850s. However, rather than simply describing ‘washables’ as it does in French, the English adoption of the word brought with it an implication of undergarments that were scandalous and sexy.

“Without proper foundations, there can be no fashion.” Christian Dior

Of course, lingerie has been around a lot longer than the usage of the word; it was first evident in Ancient Egypt according to hieroglyphic representations. Clothing in 3000 BCE was considered to carry a certain degree of status, with only the very privileged wearing undergarments to mould the shape of their silhouette – not so dissimilar to today’s society.

In the hundreds of years that have followed, lingerie has been used to shape women’s bodies in all sorts of interesting shapes, according to the fashion at the time.

Lingerie is a big industry in France, with women spending an average of 20% of their style budget every year on these silken goods. Classic French style is timeless, chic and always polished. Just think of modern day style icon Marion Cotillard. So often Cotillard wears simple lines in classic black and white and yet the contrast in shades gives her look a modern yet understated elegance.


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Go ahead, mention them: A touring show on the history of French lingerie

Ewing, Elizabeth. 1976. Underwear: A History. New York, NY: Theatre Arts Books.

Kunzle, David. 2004. Fashion and Fetishism: Corsets, Tight-Lacing and Other Forms of Body—Sculpture. Thrupp, UK: Sutton Publishing Limited.

Steele, Valerie. 2001. The Corset: A Cultural History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Workman, Nancy. 1996. “From Victorian to Victoria’s Secret: The Foundations of Modern Erotic Wear. Journal of Popular Culture. 30.2, 61-73.

Moroccan Style and History

Moroccan architecture is rich, alluring, and as varied as the landscape of the country itself. Its long history of indigenous Berber people and a series of foreign invaders as well as religious and cultural influences have shaped the countries architectural styles. The architecture can range from ornate with bold colours to simple, clean lines with earth tones. Morocco’s architecture has been described as exotic, majestic, eclectic, contemporary and traditional a true mix.

Influences from the Arab world, Spain, Portugal and France still can be seen in Moroccan architecture, both on their own and blended with Berber and Islamic styles. Among the buildings, and old Kasbah walls, sit French style-towns left behind by colonisation and intersect with intricately detailed mosques and riad-style homes. The riad-style home is a Moroccan traditional house, normally with two or more storeys designed around a U shaped courtyard that contained a fountain. These style of homes were usually built for the wealthy and were inward focused, which allowed for family privacy and protection from the weather in Morocco. This inward focus was expressed with a centrally placed interior lush garden and designed with minimal large windows on the exterior walls of clay or mud brick. This design principle found support in Islamic notions of privacy.

Some other distinctive features of Moroccan architecture include geometric patterns and bright colours, most notably in the tiles known as zellij. These tiles commonly referred to as Mosaics were made from individually chiseled geometric tiles set into a plater base. This particular form of Islamic art is one of the main characteristics of Berber and Moroccan architecture which are used to decorate walls, ceilings, fountains, floors, pools and tables.

The architectural elements of Moroccan design do not stop at the exterior building design or interior works of the walls and ceiling. Every door, surface and piece of furniture placed inside the home can be of the highest art qualities. Made using the finest earth elements such as iron and wood, using paints and natural colours of the landscape surrounding the place, Moroccans place a great deal of emphasis on all aspects of their constructed spaces.

Both the exterior and interior components of Moroccan architecture are produced by hand by crafters from generations of Moroccans who pass their craft down from father to son. While the next generation make sure to add some of their modern ideas, the sense of tradition in how they are crafted will never dissolve. Today, Moroccan interior and style has never been so popular!

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Traditional Japanese clothing

When talking about fashion in Japan it is just impossible not to acknowledge the fact that Japanese people have an incredible sense of style. Fashion plays a huge role in Japanese peoples everyday life because they have a special attitude towards clothing. In Japan fashion is considered to be a simple way to express yourself, to manifest who you are, and to show others that you are aware of the newest trends.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of  Japanese clothing is the Kimono, which literally translated simply means ‘clothing’. This traditional outfit is one of the most recognizable parts of Japanese culture. Although it is not commonly in use any more, you can still spot Japanese women wearing kimono from time to time, but in most cases it indicates some formal meeting, religious holidays or family ceremonies, such as weddings.  There are many types of kimono, each worn according to the persons age, marital status, season or event.

Formal traditional kimono wear.

The kimono first emerged in the Heian period in Japan, which lasted from 794 to 1192. Until the invention of the kimono, Japanese men and women wore separate upper and lower garments. During this period, a new style of dress developed known as the straight-line-cut kimono.

  • Furisode is a formal kimono type worn by young unmarried women. They are very colorful , bright, rich with patterns and  made of very fine quality silk. The Furisode Kimono is mostly worn for some social functions, as tea ceremony, ikebana classes or a wedding ceremony.


  •  Another formal kimono type is called Tomesode. It has the same social function as furisode with one basic difference, namely it is worn by married and older women only. The kimono has short sleeves, it’s designs are more solid and the colors are more subtle. Tomesode can be basically broken down into varied categories based on social they have.


  • The other type of traditional Japanese Kimono is called Yukata. This is a summer casual kimono worn by both men and women. For more formal occasions this kimono type can be accompanied by wooden sandals, called geta and obi belt wrapped around the waist. Yukata is lightweight cotton kimono  normally with very brightly coloured designs on it.  It is mostly worn for summer festivals and religious ceremonies such as Bon-Odori.


The main difference between men and women’s kimonos is the material used.  Typically, men’s kimonos are dark, subdued colors, like dark blue, black, brown, or green.  Usually, these are also matte fabrics with some having slight patterns.  Casual-styled ones are commonly textured and a little more brightly-colored, like light blue, green, or purple.  Occasionally, sumo wrestlers like to wear brighter colors, even fuchsia.  The formal kimono is colored plain black and it is made of silk and features shoulders, a chest, and a back with five Kamon.  Although, a kimono with three kamon is a little more formal.  These kimonos are worn with white accessories and undergarments.

Early Japanese samurai wear:

  • Hakama traditionally formed part of a complete outfit called a kamishimo worn by samurai and courtiers during the Edo period, the outfit included a formal kimono, hakama, and a sleeveless jacket with exaggerated shoulders called a kataginu.Unknown-2.jpegUnknown.jpegUnknown-1.jpegUnknown-3.jpeg

Norwegian Design

Architecture in Norway was always characterised by the need to protect people from the harsh long winters, wind and storms and to make the most of scarce building resources. In the early days transportation with primitive and builders largely had to rely on locally available materials.

One of the of most favourable buildings was a log building with horizontal logs notched at the corners, a technique thought to have come from the east of Scandinavia. At least 250 wooden houses predating the Black death in 1350 are preserved more or less intact in Norway. Most of these are log houses, some with added stave-built galleries or porches.  These homes were often built with sod or grass on their roofs in order to naturally insulate the homes during the cold winters.  Homes were built with the basis of survival rather than luxury this is why there were very simple.

After the introduction of Christianity, the centerpiece of many Medieval Norwegian towns became the wooden stave churches, which were constructed with ship masts and had long sloping roofs to shed the snow. These churches represented a major shift in the culture as these structures were much larger than homes and cost a great deal of time and money, showing the importance the people placed on the religion at the time.

From the 1300-1500s Bergen rose to power as a member of the Hanseatic League and the wharf section developed an architectural style to match their needs as a port as well as to represent their wealth. Unfortunately, these buildings were primarily constructed in wood and many have since burned down, although they always seem to be re-built in the same style.

In the 1900s Norway continued to adopt trends from Europe and today the city of Alesund has a huge number of Art Nouveau buildings, which were built after much of the city was burned down in 1904. Other large cities, such as Oslo also built in this style to a degree.

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Oceanic- Hawaiian History and Culture.

Hawaiian History

Ancient tribal Polynesians arrived on this virgin scene after long, amazing sea voyages in their double hulled canoes. The early Polynesians were an adventurous seafaring people with highly developed navigational skills. They used the sun, stars and wave patterns to find their directions. Ancient Polynesians even created incredible maps of wave patterns by binding sticks together. Bird flight paths and cloud patterns were used to discern where islands were located. Entire villages set forth upon ocean going double hulled canoes to discover unsettled islands.

Hawaii’s benign climate meant ancient Hawaiians lived their lives mostly outdoors, pursuing everyday activities in the midst of warm sunshine and gentle breezes. House structures and other buildings were used primarily for storage or as protection against rough weather.

Commoners generally had a single house while chiefs had a complex of separate houses used for different purposes. The grass house, or hale, followed the basic construction pattern common throughout Polynesia. The wooden framework consisted of ridegpole, rafters, and purlins or horizontal supports running between vertical wall posts. Thatching material – most commonly sweet-smelling pili grass – was tied to the purlins in bundles with thatch at the ridgepoles carefully layered and braided to prevent rain and wind from entering the house. Other thatching materials included various grasses, pandanus leaves, ti, sugar cane leaves and banana trunk fiber. Lashing was done with braided `uki`uki grass, coconut husk fiber or `ie`ie; no nails were used. Hale typically had a small door opening and no windows.

Ho’oponopono is a cultural practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, usually combined with prayer. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. It is used in spiritual, emotional, mental and physical healing practices. Traditional Hawaiian philosophy does not consider the physical and non-physical aspects of the world to be separate, therefore, to heal one aspect, all must be healed. Conversely, healing one will help to heal the rest.

A luau is a traditional Hawaiian party or feast that is usually accompanied by entertainment. It may feature food such as poi, kalua pig, poke, lomi salon, opihi, haupia and beer, and entertainment such as traditional Hawaiian music and hula. Among people from Hawaii, the concepts of “luau” and “party” are often blended, resulting in graduation luau, wedding luau and birthday luau.

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