This kurta, tailored with a round neck which a standing collar defines, is a piece of male ensemble, though sometimes a lady, either for a different look, choice of male styles or being the part of masculine world such as a field journalist, is also seen wearing it, and on a female figure with a robust build – tall personality with confident face, its grace simply doubles. Its milk-white translucence breathes the marble’s purity and the feather’s softness. This piece is made from light-weight pure cotton of cambric class – each thread woven closely with exceptionally high counts revealing rare finish and sophistication.
One of the India’s most characteristic fashions revealing rare ethnicity, kurta has been in prevalence since earliest times. Not only the male figures in Shunga sculptures at Sanchi or Bharhut dated first century BCE but even in Mauryan sculptures such figures might be seen wearing a garment resembling kurta. However, kurta in its fully evolved form, the same as is this piece, reached its apex under the Nawabs of Oudh who attributed to it the status of a royal wear and added to it rare artistic dimensions, sophistication and elegance and it is now one of the most popular styles of Indian costumes used not only in every part of India but also across the world. In countries with hot climatic conditions apart, even in Europe kurta is the most preferred casual wear for summer, rare comfort and great ease. An European tourist in kurta-pajama moving around in streets of a tourist town in India presents a vision which is simply phenomenal.
Its non-manipulated stark plainness, no effort revealing for giving it a look – artistic, decorative or any, kurta discovers its distinction in its simplicity – a simple expanse of milky white, the same as one is fascinated by the sky, not by any forms that one expects it to breathes but by its vast expanse. It does not afford much scope for variations even in modes of wearing except that one might fold its sleeves according to one’s taste or current fashion-trends. All its lustre it obtains from its finely woven textile, each thread meticulously sorted for quality, and its evenness is not at the cost of its softness and sophistication.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient India. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.