Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
.
Share
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address info@exoticindia.com.

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
|6
Your Cart (0)

Textiles and Costumes in Early India

Article of the Month - December 2006
Viewed 87029 times since 2nd Oct, 2008

...Continued from Page 1

« Previous Page

 

Various Components of Early Costumes

 

Headdress

Yakshi from Didarganj (ca 300 B.C.)
Yakshi from Didarganj (ca 300 B.C.)

 

 

 

 

 

After Indus, it is the Mauryan era (300 to 180 B.C), that, upon the evidence of its sculpted figures as the statue of yakshi from Didarganj, comes out with well defined costume styles.

 

 

 

 

 

This yakshi statue defines a new costume style and marks a subtle departure from the Indus tradition. In the costumes of this era the short skirts or broad band-type wear worn around loins and elaborate headdresses of Indus were completely missing.

The Death Procession of the Buddha. Notice that the heads of all the accompanying Retinue are Turbanned
The Death Procession of the Buddha. Notice that the heads of all the accompanying Retinue are Turbanned

However, in less than a hundred years after the Mauryans, the Indus concept of an elaborate headdress re-emerged in Indian costumes, with far greater emphasis and wider significance. The yaksha statues, recovered from Bharan Kalan, now in Mathura Museum, datable to late third or early second century, and the entire range of human figures – kings, courtiers, attendants, servants, devotees, usually male but also female, at Bharhut, Sanchi, Amaravati, Nagarjunakonda…. were conceived with variedly styled headdresses, arranged sometimes with prominent protuberances (golakas)of various sizes, and at other times, modelled as conch, stupa, Shiva-linga, long drum, a flower-form, leaf, fan….

The Right Figure is identified as Agni, the Priest of the Gods, because of the Central Protuberance of his Headgear
The Right Figure is identified as Agni, the Priest of the Gods, because of the Central Protuberance of his Headgear

 

 

 

The position of protuberance – in the centre, inclined to right or left, indicated the wearer’s position and rank. Protuberance in the centre was reserved for a priest. It is mainly due to its centrally located protuberance that one of the two Bharan Kalan yaksha statues (300 B.C.) is sometimes identified as Agni instead of a yaksha.

 

 

 

Antariya, Kayabandha and Uttariya (Lower Garment, Waistband and Upper Garment)

Mauryan Period (ca 325 to 180 B.C.)

Broadly, simple, unstitched and usually undyed costumes, comprising three components – antariya, kayabandha, or kamarabandha, and uttariya, defined the Mauryan wears.

Ivory Dhoti with Zari Border
Ivory Dhoti with Zari Border

 

 

 

 

 

Antariya was the modern sari/dhoti type main garment varying in size. As in the Yakshi statue, antariya was worn on the lower part of the body below the waist as the male dhoti in modern times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Stylistic Feminine Antariya (Lower Garment)
A Stylistic Feminine Antariya (Lower Garment)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Styles of male and female antariya only slightly differed. As female wear, its large part, almost one half or two thirds, was artistically pleated into a decorative frill, which was tucked into the waist band. Its other end was carried, from over the hips, to the right arm and across it was thrown to let it trail to the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

Male Figure with Elaborate Waistband
Male Figure with Elaborate Waistband

 

 

 

 

 

In male attire, one end was pleated, though not as artistically as in female wears, and tucked into the fold of the antariya wrapped around the loins while the other end was carried from between the two legs and tucked behind. It was worn up to the lower part of the ankles, not feet as in female attire. Its length, too, was much less. IMAGE 13 Kayabandha was a sash tied around the waist for securing the antariya. Kayabandha was largely a male attire tied in loop knots. It could be a simple sash, vethaka, one with drum-headed knots, a flat ribbon shaped pattika with elaborate band of embroidery, composed of many strings or a knitted one.

 

 

 

Nayika Applying Kajal in Her Eyes
Nayika Applying Kajal in Her Eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

In female attire, a multi-stringed girdle substituted kayabandha. Sometimes a beautifully pleated kayabandha was tucked over the pleats of antariya for giving it a thicker look.

 

 

 

 

 

Segan Semui-in
Segan Semui-in

 

 

 

 

 

Uttariya was a long scarf-type textile covering the upper half of the body. Uttariya, too, usually formed the part of male attire worn either as a band tied over the stomach or as one diagonally across the chest from the right hip to left shoulder and across the back from left shoulder back to right hip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costume-Styles as Reflect in Early Buddhist Sculptures

Male Figure with Footwear
Male Figure with Footwear

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the reign of the Sunga (185 to 73 B.C.) and Satavahana (230 B.C onwards) rulers, boots, sandals and leggings formed an addition to costumes.

 

 

 

 

 

Buddha – With the Uttariya and Antariya made of a Single Cloth
Buddha – With the Uttariya and Antariya made of a Single Cloth

 

 

 

 

 

Later, around the middle of the first century of the Common Era, uttariya and antariya merged into one in Buddha’s images. Now a sheet, as long as could cover his form from his feet to his left shoulder, defined his apparel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Buddha
Standing Buddha

 

 

 

 

 

Later, into the art of India infused the elements of Greek sculptures. Influenced by the long robe of Greek sculptures, the sheet, covering the divine form of the Buddha, further widened to cover his entire figure, both shoulders and down to feet, as did a Greek robe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costume-Types, Designs and Techniques as Revealed in Ajanta Murals (200 B.C. to 450 A.D.)

A Congregation from Ajanta, No Two Figures Wear the Same Clothes
A Congregation from Ajanta, No Two Figures Wear the Same Clothes

 

 

A minute survey reveals that no two figures in Ajanta murals wear a similar costume. And, Ajanta panels, representing a Jataka or a detached episode from the Buddha’s life, are a representation of crowd, though a meaningful one, with people pouring in from all sides, each differently costumed, and each costume differently designed and fashioned.

 

 

Ajanta Lady
Ajanta Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ajanta damsels knew multifarious styles of putting on a sari. Ordinarily, a sari was tied on pelvis wrapping both legs down to the feet. Maids, attendants and common women covered their upper part also with one third of it but not those from elite classes. Elite wore it mostly up to the waist.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sari Trails the Dominating Central Figure
The Sari Trails the Dominating Central Figure

 

 

 

 

 

 

A smaller part of its length was wrapped around the loins and its half width was folded like a short skirt and the longer, let loose on the backside trailing on the ground like a long majestic cloak.

 

 

 

 

 

Sari from Breasts to Knees (Second Figure from Left)
Sari from Breasts to Knees (Second Figure from Left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

In another innovation, it was worn on body’s middle part, that is, from breasts to knees. It was secured on the waist by one of its ends tied like a kayabandha.

 

 

 

 

 

Sari Worn in the Fashion of the Women of Maharashtra
Sari Worn in the Fashion of the Women of Maharashtra

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sari was also worn like the male dhoti or as the contemporary langad-dhoti, a style of wearing sari yet pursued in entire Maharashtra. The sari was wrapped around the loins down to knees and one of its ends was carried from under the two legs and was tucked behind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One End of the Sari Thrown Over Like a sash
One End of the Sari Thrown Over Like a sash

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, its other end was thrown over one of the shoulders like a sash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Blouse from Ajanta which can be the Envy of any Modern Woman
Designer Blouse from Ajanta which can be the Envy of any Modern Woman

 

 

 

 

A full sleeve blouse has been designed with white front and back and tied-and-dyed sleeves. Its front has pointed corners, as are sometimes seen in concurrent fashion garments.

 

 

 

A Sample of Some Ajanta Cap Styles
A Sample of Some Ajanta Cap Styles

 

 

 

Some blouses are designed with a round neck, some with v-neck and others with a collar. Here are socks, parasol, fans, curtains, tapestries and a lot more. Here are people with a band tied on the forehead, scarf, tied around the head, wearing round, flat and domed caps and wrapped in a sheet, chadara.

 

 

 

The Male Drape in Ajanta
The Male Drape in Ajanta

 

 

 

 

 

 

Styles of wearing male uttariya are enumerable. A sash has its own beauty when it is passed from under the right arm, is carried over the left shoulder and is then brought down to the right hip.

 

 

 

 

Besides the weaved-in-designing, tie-and-dye and block printing seem to have been the chosen techniques of colouring textiles those days. Monochromic textiles are little favoured. Ajanta murals showcase, instead, a range of designed textiles. These design comprise variously laid stripes – narrow, broad, horizontal, vertical, straight, waving, crossing each other and forming squares and rectangles, colour-alternating….., sleek delicately laid lines across the entire piece, chess-board designs, floral patterns, trefoil, four-petalled, multi-petalled, vines, painted using obverse and reverse blocks, and rows of geese. Costumes-types, styles, designs, colour-schemes and the very spirit of these early wears is so deeply rooted into its soil that despite a gap of about two thousand years the contemporary textile fabricators and fashion designers not only wonder at their ingenuity but also look at them for inspiration and discovering in them their models today.


References and Further Reading:

« Previous Page

Post a Comment
 
Post Review
  • ¡Hola!, necesito urgentemente me digáis donde puedo comprar tela tapajuntas (son las tiras bordadas de los vestidos indues), de las telas o vestidos típicos indúes.

    Gracias.
    by teresa on 5th Oct 2012
  • Thanks for a good article. You have not traced the origin of the words sari and dhoti. Sari comes from Cheera (Telugu) and Chelai (Tamil). They could have come from Seelai (Tamil) meaning cloth. Dhoti comes from Vetti (Tamil) meaning \"that which is worn\" coming from the verb Vedu (Tamil) meaning wear.
    by R. Kit Kittappa on 15th Nov 2010
  • Dear sir,

    kindly requesting for more deep development feedback.
    by nichiren nana kwame Asiedu on 12th Jun 2008
  • I would to know more about the history of the textile art in India. Thank you.
    by Albano, Reinel on 5th Jan 2008
  • if there is a superior word for the eastern civilization, i would have used it here. i feel much humbled.thank you
    by the little me on 1st Aug 2007
  • Koool stuff mann!!!!!
    by Nisha (nisha@singapore.com) on 15th Jan 2007
  • Thank you for this very excellent article. I have always thought the Indian clothing to be about the most sensible, suited to the climate and the people and the most comfortable anywhere. It seems to me amazing that a piece of cloth by just winding can become so personalized by each, thank you for the history and the explanations.
    by Anon on 21st Dec 2006
Testimonials
'My' Ganesha-pendant arrived ! Thank you a lot-it's really very lovely ! Greetings from Germany.
Birgit Kukmann
I got the parcel today, and I am very happy about it! a true Bible of Subhashitam! Thanks again a lot.
Eva, France
I have been your customer for many years and everything has always been A++++++++++++ quality.
Delia, USA
I am your customer for many years. I love your products. Thanks for sending high quality products.
Nata, USA
I have been a customer for many years due to the quality products and service.
Mr. Hartley, UK.
Got the package on 9th Nov. I have to say it was one of the excellent packaging I have seen, worth my money I paid. And the books where all in best new conditions as they can be.
Nabahat, Bikaner
Whatever we bought from Exotic India has been wonderful. Excellent transaction,very reasonable price excellent delivery. We bought so many huge statues, clothes, decorative items, jewels etc. Every item was packed with love.
Tom and Roma Florida USA
Namaste. I want to thank you as I have received the statue and I shall always remember the service provided to such good standards.
Dr. B. Saha, UK
I received my Green Tara statue today and it's absolutely lovely, much nicer than I'd hoped--thank you so much for arranging its manufacture for me!
Betsy, California
Parcel received is brilliantly packed by your dispatch team. Excellent collection, beautiful Micro-art work. The items are exactly same as displayed. Hats-off to the collection team. The shiva linga Ring & Garuda pendant were superb. Its pleasure shopping every time. God bless your team with good energy to continue this Real collection work.
Badarinath, India
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Related Items
Style: Salwar Kameez Designs
Style: Salwar Kameez Designs
Paperback
$27.50$20.62
Style: Salwar Kameez Designs
Woven Wonder: The Tradition of Indian Textiles
Woven Wonder: The Tradition of Indian Textiles
$30.00$22.50
Woven Wonder: The Tradition of Indian Textiles
India Sutra: On The Magic Trail Of Textiles
India Sutra: On The Magic Trail Of Textiles
$125.00$93.75
India Sutra: On The Magic Trail Of Textiles
Textiles From India: The Global Trade
Textiles From India: The Global Trade
$95.00$71.25
Textiles From India: The Global Trade
Asian Embroidery
Asian Embroidery
Hardcover
Jasleen Dhamija
$115.00$69.00
Asian Embroidery
Sawan Blouse Patterns
Sawan Blouse Patterns
Paperback
$27.50$20.62
Sawan Blouse Patterns
Kajal: Salwar Kameez Designs
Kajal: Salwar Kameez Designs
Paperback
$30.00$22.50
Kajal: Salwar Kameez Designs
Illustrated Dictionary of Textile
Illustrated Dictionary of Textile
Paperback
Larry Operah
$9.50$7.12
Illustrated Dictionary of Textile
Thakkar Collection (Designer Blouses)
Thakkar Collection (Designer Blouses)
Paperback
$25.00$18.75
Thakkar Collection (Designer Blouses)
Indian Costumes
Indian Costumes
Hardcover
A. Biswas
$24.00$18.00
Indian Costumes
Perfect Pattern (Blouse Designs)
Perfect Pattern (Blouse Designs)
Paperback
Nilesh K.Jingar
$25.00$18.75
Perfect Pattern (Blouse Designs)
Shaantee Designer Blouse Patterns
Shaantee Designer Blouse Patterns
Paperback
$24.00$18.00
Shaantee Designer Blouse Patterns
Viraj Blouse Patterns
Viraj Blouse Patterns
Paperback
$22.50$16.88
Viraj Blouse Patterns
Fabric Art Heritage of India
Fabric Art Heritage of India
Hardcover
Sukla Das
$65.00$48.75
Fabric Art Heritage of India
Thakkar's (Exclusive Designer Blouses)
Thakkar's (Exclusive Designer Blouses)
Paperback
$27.50$20.62
Thakkar's (Exclusive Designer Blouses)
Ronak: Salwar Kameez Designs
Ronak: Salwar Kameez Designs
Paperback
$30.00$22.50
Ronak: Salwar Kameez Designs
Show More
Related Links
Pure Silk Handloom Brocaded Fabrics
Fabrics by the Yard
Ready to Wear Three Piece Suits
Salwar Kameez Gallery
"A ritual in temple or at home, celebrating a birth or marriage or mourning a death, sari has its own sanctity on all occasions....Sari is an imaginative wear which the wearer drapes to her fancy using it to add volume to her frail figure or relieve it of its awkward bulk....Whatever the early Sanskrit denominations, the vernacular term 'sari', among others denoting Indian textiles, had evolved with specificity by the 14th century, if not before....Mirabai alludes to term 'sari' in her verses....It was Indian cinema that led sari to its all time heights of popularity."
Sari: Indian Woman's Globally Venerated Distinction
"The Sari, it is said, was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of a Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn't stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes, he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled".
The Indian Sari - Fashioning the Female Form
"...each and every part of the feminine physique... have consistently been used to support ornaments... the simple appearance without ornament is "not enough"... Hence the stress on adornment of the women, who are but the poetry of nature..."
Women and Jewelry - The Spiritual Dimensions of Ornamentation
Shawls in Pure Silk and Wool
Pashmina and Jamawar Shawls
Show More
TRUSTe online privacy certification
Language:
Currency:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2016 © Exotic India