Clothes History .. Ancient India An attempt to understand why are our clothes, the way, they are..
The story of our clothes… ancient India 'Harmonious co-existence of a wide variety of layered chaos'
India lives simultaneously in many centuries.
The Clothing diversity of India has its roots in our Geography & History
Seafarers, traders. .in south Invasions in North Indo Aryans Persians Indo Greeks Parthian Sakas Kushans Huns Turks Mughals Roman traders Arab traders Portuguese French Dutch British Restricted by the Himalayan ranges in the east and the Vindhyas in south Diversity painted by the geography Of the Indian Subcontinent Migrations from Tibet Burma, china
Created an eclectic mix of people and clothing
Dravidian type Census of India (1901) "The [Indian] census report of 1901 divided the population of India into seven distinct racial types Dravidian the Turkic-Iranian Indo-Aryan Mongol-Dravidian Mongoloid Scytho-Dravidian Aryo-Dravidian
Epic or the Vedic age Maurya Greeks Kushans Partho-Synthians Guptas Islam Evidences but no Documentation No Evidences no Documentation 5300 years back 3500 years back 2300 years back 2100 years back 1800 years back 500 yrs back.. Indus valley civilization The DNA of our clothing in time Diversity brought in by History Of the Indian Subcontinent
Semitropical climates , clothes were not essential to survive Hence, Indian Clothing tended to become a religious , cultural and tribal identity .
Indus valley civilization Epic or the Vedic age Maurya Greeks Kushans Partho-Synthians Guptas Islam Hinduism Buddhism Hinduism Temple Era Manu Smriti Yagya and sacrifices Theism (Pujas) Evidences but no Documentation No Evidences no Documentation Jainism A brief overview of religion through time.
Epic or the Vedic age Maurya Greeks Kushans Partho-Synthians Guptas Islam Evidences but no Documentation No Evidences no Documentation 3500 years back 2300 years back 2100 years back 1800 years back 500 yrs back.. 5300 years back
State of society Indus Valley civilization 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. Political No caste system. Priest king is believed to have ruled along side bureaucracy Its spread was Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of India. integral component of the Bronze Age "world economy" in terms of trade relation Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back
Clothing rudimentary stitching. Nudity acceptable Body adorned with beads, jewels Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back
The Indus 5300 years ago Materials Textures Silhouettes Adornment Needles Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back
Necklace made from gold, agate, jasper, steatite and green stone Female figurine with four flowers arranged on the front part of a fan shaped headdress "Priest King“ cloak decorated with trefoil, double circle and single circle designs that were originally filled with red pigment Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back
Additionally, other archaeological finds are culturally consistent, such as the dancing girl, whose bracelets are similar to those worn by women of Northwest India today as well as Clothes that traveled to us… Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back
Maurya Greeks Kushans Partho-Synthians Guptas Islam No Evidences no Documentation 2300 years back 2100 years back 1800 years back 500 yrs back.. Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back Indus valley civilization 3500 years back
Socio cultural Vedic period 1500 to 500 BC There were no kingdoms. By late Vedic period Janapada (land) gained importance and kingdoms ( mahajanapadas ) were formed Probably around the 800 BC, the Aryans thrust eastwards along the gangetic plains removed the centre of gravity of conquered lands from the Punjab to Daob … Birth of… Caste system Hinduism Sanskrit Upanishads Vedas Ramayana Mahabharata Political 3500 years back
Indo – Aryan religion rose from a mixture of the indigenous people’s beliefs which was mainly the worship of fertility and worship of fire . The colour red therefore was considered sacred. Religion and Beliefs
Clothing Leave the loom, ready for wear . Early Indian did not use any sewn garments Sewing was considered inauspicious Upper body not covered by both male and females . 3500 years back
The Epic Age 3500 years ago Materials Textures Silhouettes Adornment The only mention of costumes is the “nivi” the only meaning that fits is the pleats”all evil on such occasions may be protected by the pleats” Cotton linen, silk were known. Woolen blankets and animal skins Dyes include indigo crimson magenta and yellow 3500 years back
Loin clothes: Kaupina (a.k.a. kowpina , kachcha ) is a distinctly Indian form of clothing from ancient times. It is a loin cloth passed between the legs and held by a string at the waist, just enough to cover the private parts. The remainder of the cloth acts as a throw or apron The first form of clothing happened as a form of protection for the males and as a chastity belt Functional form of clothing Clothes that traveled to us… 3500 years back
uttariya antariya 3500 years back The religious significance of sewing being inauspicious is observed yet, during puja ceremonies - The puja performer wears an unstitched garment. These names have early mentions in the Vedic texts
Gamchha (made up of thin coarse cotton fabric ) is a traditional Indian towel, adorned by a large population in utter Pradesh. Although it is normally used for drying one’s body after bathing, gamcha serves other purposes also. The present day Uttariya The present day antariya
Kushans Partho-Synthians Guptas Islam 2100 years back 1800 years back 500 yrs back.. Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back Indus valley civilization 2300 years back Epic or the Vedic age No Evidences no Documentation 3500 years back
Persian and Greek invasion Around the 5th century BC, north-western parts of India faced invasion by the Achaemenid Empire and the Greeks of Alexander's army. Persian way of thinking, administration and lifestyle came to India. This influence became bigger during the Mauryan dynasty. greeks 2300 years back
Socio cultural Founded by Chandragupta Maurya. Asoka responsible for widespread diffusion of Buddhism. Influenced by the Greeks and the Iranians which preceded this dynasty. Runs parallel to the Roman empire and the golden age of China, cross cultural under currents between China Persia and India are evident, facilitated by the silk route Political 2300 years back
Clothing Men and women continued to wear three unstitched garments, as in Vedic times. Antariya in kaccha style, uttariya across the head or casually draped on the shoulders , kayabandh or the girdle The cloth became finer with the increase in status of the person adorning it. . Cotton continued to be used as the traditional textile , And silk (called Cinamsuka) was imported from China along the Silk Route The Birth of the Ghagra noticed in some parts kayabandh antariya uttariya Mauli/ turban 2300 years back
The Maurya Dynasty Materials Textures Silhouettes Adornment Silk was imported from China known as Cinamsuka Rudimentary stitching Graeco-Roman influences in jwellery 2300 years back
Silhouettes Uttariya, Antariya and Cummerband observed as primary garments 2300 years back
For many centuries before Indians had moved around self consciously nude above waist
There were probably two reasons for the change
One was that the female attendants in the King’s court thrown into the company of beautiful foreigners who wore upper garments, must have realized that covering the bosom could even be more attractive than exposing it, and accordingly emulated the dress style of the foreigners.
Also, with the impact of Buddhism, Jainsm, and Christianity the belief that the body was sinful and must be concealed to avoid temptation was percolating through India, In medieval Europe, around this time, similar changes were occurring in female clothing, and women began covering themselves from head to foot.
Socio-cultural influences 2300 years back
the foreigners…. A description of Persian costume of 500 BC. coat that was open down the front, had a fitted waist, and long tight sleeves sewn into the armholes. At first it was knee-length, later calf length. Indigenous people 2300 years back
7th Century Sigiriya: “The royal ladies in the frescoes...displayed their breasts. The ladies in waiting wear...a firm 'breast bandage' or sthanapatiya ." As seen the stitched garments were adopted by the common man. The ruling class, the god and goddesses continued to be depicted in nude 2300 years back
The skirt, bhairnivasani , evolved from the antariya which when stitched on one side became tabular and was worn gathered together at the waist, and held by a girdle. This was one of the earliest forms of a clumsily stitched skirt
Later evolved into a “ghagri” with the nada replacing the girdle
The bhairnivasani was first used by the Jain and Buddhist nuns, and arose from the idea that a woman’s body was sinful and had to be covered
2300 years back
A stitched shirt-like foreign garment called the kancuka was frequently used by attendants , grooms, guards and so on in the king’s court,
KANCHUKA This is a close fitting garment covering the upper body. Armor is also a form of Kanchuka. 2300 years back
Kanchuka –ghagra : a functional attire Kanchuka has morphed into the “choli” or blouse. Clothes that traveled to us… 2300 years back The reason why the skirt or the ghagra must have survived in the plains is because its easier for the female to defecate as it forms a tent around her and provides privacy
Guptas Islam 1800 years back 500 yrs back.. Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back Indus valley civilization 2100 years back Epic or the Vedic age No Evidences no Documentation 3500 years back Maurya Greeks 2300 years back
Socio cultural An epoch dominated by international exchanges through the Silk Route. Buddhism continued to evolve Kushan Period- the Sakas (Scythians, ancestors of Rajputs) The Kushans established themselves in punjab, meanwhile the parthians, who had sttled in the western sataraps gave in to the kushans Political 2100 years back
At the turn of the Century, Kushan Dynasty 2100 years back
Clothing 2100 years back 1.indigenous people-the antariya , uttariya , and kayabandh , 2. guardians and attendants of the harem-usually the indigenous and sewn kancuka , red-brown in color 3.foreign Kushan rulers and their entourage a mixture of foreign and indigenous garments. trade relation with Rome brought in different form of Drape which manifested into today's Sari Kushan costumes may be divided into five types. It also set stone of difference between the costumes of north and the south India. As the foreigners were restricted to the north of vindhyas only
The Kushan Dynasty The Ancient “globalization” Materials Textures Silhouettes Adornment 2100 years back
The dress was worn by most of Scythian and Iranian races and resembled particularly that of the Parthians It consisted of a ruched long-sleeves tunic with a slit for the neck opening , simple or elaborately decorated. The close-fitting knee-length tunic was sometimes made of leather, and with it could be worn a short cloak or a calf-length woolen coat or caftan , worn loose or crossed over from right to left and secured by a belt of leather or metal. External influence…. Stitched clothes.. 2100 years back Kaniska (from the warrior class) is depicted wearing a Iranian tunic, Scythian Cap and a nomadic horseman's heavy boots The Kushan dress had evolved from a nomad culture based on the use of the horse
At Gandhara there are figures wearing a sari-like garment which seems to have evolved from palmyrene (Graeco-Roman) or pure Roman dress. This is the palla (draped over garment worn over a long gown with ruched sleeves, which was typical of the Roman matron) pinned at the left shoulder. The difference in some of the Gandhara female figures is that they wear, in addition, an antariya, which is extended in length. This long antariya is worn in the kachcha style but one end continues over the left shoulder and is broached there like the palla. First evidence of a single drape… the sari influence of the roman drape 2100 years back
The total ensemble looks very much like the Deccani sari of today.. The wearing of an uttariya with the sari is still seen in the fisher-folk of Maharashtra. Clothes that traveled to us… 2100 years back It is worn in the kacha style like the ancient antariya
The migrants who settled in India The Parsis And the Scythians 2100 years back
Parsis are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to the Indian subcontinent ancient Persian rulers Modern Mumbai Parsi Family in traditional attire The immigrants were granted permission to stay by the local ruler Jadi Rana on the condition that they adopt the local language (Gujarati), that their women adopt local dress (the sari ) The parsi cap: Clothing as means of preserving identity as in case of Parsees
The Indo-Scythians are a branch of the Indo-Iranian Sakas (Scythians), who migrated into parts of Western and Central India, Gujarat and Rajasthan, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE . The agrarian and artisan communities (e.g. Jats, Gujars, Ahirs, Rajputs, Lohars, Tarkhans etc .) of the entire west are derived from the war-like Scythians who settled north-western. 2100 years back
These migrants brought with them new silhouettes, textures and materials that makes the present day scenario of northwest India so colourful and Vibrant. Clothes that traveled to us …
Mughals 500 yrs back.. Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back Indus valley civilization 1800 years back Epic or the Vedic age No Evidences no Documentation 3500 years back Maurya Greeks 2300 years back Kushans Partho-Synthians 2100 years back
Political As traditional Hindu monarchs, the Gupta s were strong supporters of vedic religious beliefs and rituals. Hinduism had reached its peak Manu Smriti dictated a rigid class system And Buddhism declined 1800 years back The Gupta empire was founded in northern India at the beginning of the fourth century AD after a long period of chaos which ensued when the Kushan empire ended in the middle of the third century Down south commerce was at its height with south east countries and spreading indian textiles and art. Social
Clothing Many forms of cut-and-sewn garments became fashionable, especially at court. By now clearly defined the costumes of north and south India. In northern India where climatic conditions were more suitable there was greater emphasis on the stitched garments, but in the south, as is apparent even today, the indigenous antariya, uttariya and kayabandh held their own 1800 years back
Clothing of the female: The apron-like attachment at the front of the blouse, visible in some of the frescoes, could have evolved from the need for protection against the cold for the front part of the body, or as a modesty covering over the stomach which was exposed, the skirt being worn below the navel. The external influence…. Stitched clothes.. 2100 years back
Village women – Deogarh caves This is interesting as it shows the angharakha worn with trousers instead of the ghagri or lehenga Maybe the trouser suited more in terms of protection against the climate and was similar to the garments of the foreigners, therefore adopted. Deogarh
The sari drape change.. From kaccha to lungi style
The antariya was occasionally worn like the Indonesian sarong- a wide garment reaching from under the armpits to mid-thigh in a simple wraparound Clothing. The main difference in the Gupta period, as distinct from the previous periods, is that the kachcha style became less popular with women, being replaced gradually by the more feminine lehnga or lungi was we call it today, although the queen and other ladies of the royal family remained conservative .
This conservative kachcha style is still adopted by the women of Maharashtra and South India.
1800 years back
The sari drape change.. From kaccha to lungi style Clothes that traveled to us…
Men from the north and the west (Gujarat, Uttar pradesh, Madya Pradesh) who are traditional dhoti wearers are shifting to Lungi when at home as it’s a easier drape.
Islam 500 yrs back.. Evidences but no Documentation 5300 years back Indus valley civilization 500 years back Epic or the Vedic age No Evidences no Documentation 3500 years back Maurya Greeks 2300 years back Kushans Partho-Synthians 2100 years back Guptas 1800 years back
The journey started with Arab Raiders from Persia in 712-850 997-1030:turkic afgan Mahmud Ghazni raided India and destroyed and looted Temples. 1210-1526: the delhi sultanate- the turbulent period.
jubba Kaba Kurtak Exposure to a wide variety of apparel for more than a decade resulted and assumed numerous regional variations, from the nomad garments of central Asia into the refined costume of the Mughals- in the instance of one type of garment, that evolved into the comfortable and relaxed dress of the common man – Kurta Pyjama Kaba Kurtak
500 years back Mughal Empire was an Islamic imperial power which ruled most of the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries. The classic period of the Empire starts with the accession of Jalaluddin Mohammad, better known as Akbar the Great, in 1556 . The Mughal Empire survived until 1857, but its rulers were, after 1803, pensioners of the East India Company. Political Mughal Empire April 21, 1526 September 21, 1857
Clothing Influences Interestingly, each emperor maintained his own contemporary style of dressing in court and otherwise The initial influence was restricted to the court, nobility and the upper class. Purdah, nose rings and the salwar kameez established themselves in this period A new sartorial morality stuck root - the purpose of clothing moved from protection and ornamentation to “rules of behavior” for men and women : Veils, turbans etc acquired cultural and societal connotations. Socio-Cultural impact 500 years back
The Mughal Dynasty 500 years back…. Materials Textures Silhouettes Adornment 500 years back
Babar who was brought up in the cooler climate of Turkistan, retained the costumes of his homeland; the most popular garments in his period were ‘chafan’ (long coat) and ‘postin’ (sheep skin coat). Perhaps he wore them for traditional rather than practical reasons. Babur in 1526 postin 500 years back
Humayun introduced Persian elements in the costumes . He was notorious for seeking the help of planetary movements (every day) in choosing what to wear. He also maintained a special treasure house in his palace to accommodate textiles and garments. 500 years back
Akbar took the initiative of introducing local textiles, which were best suited to the hot climate of the region Akbar also developed a vocabulary of clothing and textile. Some new terms were introduced; jama was renamed ‘sarbgati’ meaning, that which covers the entire body, ‘izar’ (drawers) was renamed ‘yar pirahan’ meaning ‘companion of the coat’, ‘burqa’ and ‘hijab’ (over garment covering the body and face) were named ‘hitragupta’ (Sanskrit word) meaning ‘that which hides the face’ and ‘shawl’ took the name ‘paramnarm’ meaning ‘extremely soft’. Akbar 500 years back
Mughals neither lost their identity nor conquered the country culturally Mughal expansion was a process of evolution rather than imposition. Because Hinduism had penetrated so deeply the foreigners were considered mleecha (impure) .hostile. Large number of Hindu converts felt no need to change their fashions. Though after the initial clash followed fusion, with the citizens adopting part of the mughal culture and fashion 500 years back
marking features introduced to differentiate Hindus from the Muslims even though they were wearing the same kind of clothes. The emperor Akbar was smart enough in maintaining the freedom and religious identity as the Hindu Chakdar Jama was fastened on the left side of the body and Muslims fastened it on the right side. Hindus Muslim 500 years back Chakdar Jama
He himself took interest in the Clothing of court dresses and introduced the ‘Chakdar jama’ to his court, which is a cross over tunic, with slits around the skirt and an asymmetrical hemline. Although it was in Clothing in India since medieval times, Akbar restyled the garment and developed it into a formal gown by removing slits, rounding the hemline and increasing the fullness of the skirt 500 years back
The development of the Purdah system many Hindu nobles were asked their daughter in marriage to Muslim sultans against their practices. consequently they responded to the pressure by adopting ‘purdah’to keep gaze at bay and early child marriages. The intermarriages that happened lead to the introduction of their dress styles The social adoptions……. 500 years back
The Amirs and the Maliks and other officers at the Sultanate courts are described as wearing "gowns (tatailyat),jakalwat and Islamic qabas of Khawarizm tucked in the middle of the body" and short turbans which did not exceed five or six forearms. Of other Amirs we learn that they were as well dressed "as the soldiers except that they did not use belts and at times they let down a piece of cloth in front of them after the manner of the sups. The judges and the learned men wore ample gowns (farajiyat) that resembled jaradiyat (striped material from jand, Yemen) and an Arabic garment (durra) (a garment opening in front and buttoned )
500 years back
500 years back
Some traders adopted the mughal head dress which is still in use Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, in Shalwar, sherwani and Karakuli hat, with his sister Fatima Jinnah, in Shalwar Qameez. Picture taken in 1947. The afghan- type Karakuli cap is a common sight in Delhi during winters Clothes that traveled to us… 500 years back
Nose rings are said to brought to India by the Mughal. Salwar Kamiz, sherwanis are legacies from the mughal dynasty, and mainstream garments today 500 years back Clothes that traveled to us…
In the punjab region, people moved from wearing lungis to pajamas. Pajamas are worn in Punjab by both Hindus and the Muslims. The functional adoptions…. 500 years back Clothes that traveled to us…
Some dress silhouettes adopted from other cultures…
PUNJAB. Man's shirt, Cashmere. . The opening for neck is Persian in shape
INDIA. Hindu jacket. Ancient Mongolian shape; light cotton material.
PUNJAB, CASHMERE. Camel-wool over-garment, "tshoga". The Punjab tshoga is reminiscent of the shape of Turkestan garments. It always has a shoulder seam. Plaited silk cords are attached to slit over breast to close garment.
angarakha INDIA. Angarkha, Bahawalpur.
Modern Indian Fashion at a Glance…
Kashmir.. Functional adoption of clothing from central Asia Influenced by the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and bearing a clear stamp of the Afghan and central Asian contributions. Due to the climatic extremities salwar is the common dress for both Hindus and the Muslims Veil not present
Himachal pradesh… Dress evolve out of necessity Dress evolves out of necessity owning to extreme climate - the total ensemble consists of a loose chola reaching from the neck to the ankle, this is worn over a trouser. The male attire consists of a tight trouser, jamah and a cap.
Punjabis in India have mainly Indo-Aryan and Indo-Scythian origin. Their indigenous garment was the lungi though they adopted the salwar for functional purposes. Influences from the neighboring areas like Kashmir
Rajasthan …a functional and cultural response
Gujarat West and south west of Rajasthan ghaghra is mostly confined to peasants and the saurastra region further south people wear sari, the ghagra retains its use as an undergarment, as is the proved by the fact that even as a petticoat the underwear ghaghra is embellished , being reminiscent of the original practice of having the latter as the principal wear. Males dress is composed of a pagri breeches and short kurta
Maharastra the dividing line of north and the south From here we find minimum external influences on clothing owning to geographical limitations. Further south the sari is the primary attire of the female and lungi or Mundu for the males.
Though the drape changes with from one place to another The reasons of which are social, cultural norms of Identity of a place and community.
Koppla Velam women with typical saris draped short. Vizagapatnam Koppla Velam women with typical saris draped long. Vizagapatnam Woman Brahmane Telugu with traditional caste sari in temple. Masulipatnam.
Old tribal woman with Sarguja Oraon sari. Old woman with Rajim sari.
Tevar woman with traditional sari of her caste. Tiruchendur Woman with traditional sari of Salem. Tiruchengodu. Chettiyar woman with traditional sari her caste. Karaikkudi Woman with "pinkosu" sari with pleats stretched. Tiruchendur
Orissa and the East East we find influences from Tibetan and Chinese clothing
Within these broad clothing preferences , each community tried to differentiate from others by bringing in small changes in drapes, or wearing a particular jewelry, use of color etc to Identify themselves.
Conclusion So till now Indian clothing had functional (protection & adornment), socio-cultural (social Structure, values, Sacred ) roots to itself which has become an Identity of the people Communities use clothing and external symbols to preserve their identities among the mass : as indicators of social status, marital status, origin, wealth, religion
From here we would understand the Mutations that happened in the Indian fashion journey.. The change of aspirations.. from the Europeans (British) to the American.. To our very own Bollywood, and television The Journey
Forces that coloured the Indian Fashion Scene Ancient Modern.. Part 2 migrations invasions Functional, cultural adoptions conversions Independence Bollywood Globalization television