Maurya and Gupta Empire

08/08/11 12:57 AM Indus valley to the Pre-British era : 1. Indus Valley 2. Maurya Dynasty 3. Gupta Empire 4. Mughal Empire 5. Mewar Dynasty 6. Vijayanagar Empire 7. Maratha Empire 8. Ahom Kingdom 9. Kushan Dynasty 10. Satavahana Dynasty I. MAURYA DYNASTY COSTUME Men and women continued to wear three unstitched garments, as in Vedic times. The main garment was the antariya of white cotton, linen or flowered muslin, sometimes embroidered in gold and precious stones.

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For men, it was an unstitched length of cloth draped around the hips and between the legs in the kachcha style, extending from the waist to the calf or ankles or worn even shorter by peasants and commoners. The antariya was secured at the waist by a sash or kayabandh, often tied in a looped knot at the center front of the waist. The kayabandh could be simple sash, vethaka; one with drum-headed knot at the ends, muraja; a very elaborate band of embroidery, flat and ribbon-shaped, pattika; or a many-stringed one, kalabuka.

The third item of clothing called uttariya was another length of material, usually fine cotton, very rarely silk, which was utilized as a long scarf to drape the top half of the body. uttariya was worn in several ways to suit the comforts of the wearer: very elegantly by those at court, who drape it on both shoulders or one shoulder, or diagonally across the chest and casually knotted at the waist, or it could even be worn loosely across the back and supported by the elbows or wrist, and in many other ways according to the whims of the weather.

But for the labourer and the craftsman, it was more a practical garment to be tied around the head as protection from sun, or tightly around the waist leaving the hands free for work, or again as a towel to mop the face when sweating. Its uses were endless for the poor sections of the society and for them it would be made of coarse cotton. Women tied their antariya in different ways. Originally opaque, it later became more and more transparent. A simple small antariya or strip of cloth, langoti was attached to the kayabandh at the center front, and then passed between the legs and tucked in at the back.

A longer version of the antariya was the knee-length one, being first wrapped around and secured at the waist, the longer end then pleated and tucked in at the front, and the shorter end finally drawn between the legs, Kachcha style, and tucked in at the waist at the back. Another version, the lehnga style, was a length of cloth wrapped around the hips tightly to form a tabular type of skirt. This was not drawn between the legs in the kachcha style. The uttariyas of upper-class women were generally of thin material decorated with elaborated borders and quite often worn as a head covering.

Their kayabandhs were very similar to those of the men. In addition, they sometimes wore a patka, a decorative piece of cloth attached to the kayabandh in front by tucking in one end at the waist. The patka was made from plaited wool or cotton, twisted yarn or leather, and at times it was also woven. Although, footwear is often mentioned in Vedic literature there is no sculptural evidence for this period, except in the case of soldiers who wear the Persian boot. It may be because shoes could not be taken inside a stupa or Buddhist temple, that they were not depicted on the sculptures on stupas.

In the more remote villages and jungles, shepherds, hunters and people of similar occupations were mostly aboriginal or belonged to the lowest caste. They generally wore simple unbleached coarse varieties of the cotton antariya and turbans, much the same as we find today, and the practice of tattooing was fairly common. The more primitive tribes who lived in the forest wore garments made from grass (Kusa), skin, and fur. Headgear and Hairstyles Women generally covered their heads with the uttariya, worn straight or crosswise, often resplendent with beautiful borders.

The hair, centrally parted, was made into one or two plaits or in a large knot at the back. The uttariya could be worn simply hanging down at the back or secured to the head with a headband, or with one end arranged in a fan at the top of the head. Skullcaps were sometimes worn under or over the uttariya to keep it in place, or at times it could be decorated with a fringe or pendants. Helmets too are seen as headgear for phrygian women who probably wore long-sleeved tunic with tight fitting trousers and a phrygian cap which was conical and had ear flaps.

In India, the Amazons wore in addition, the crossed-at-chest belt vaikaksha, with metal buckles, shield, and sword. Women sometimes used turbans of decorated cloth. As regards male headgear, in the early Maureen period there is no trace of the turban mauli, but in the Sunga period we find great emphasis on this form of male head dress. These were remarkable headdresses in which the hair itself was often twisted into a braid along with the turban cloth. This twisted braid was then arranged to form a protuberance at the front or the side of the head but never at the center top, as only priests could use this style.

Over the turban a band was sometimes used to hold it in place. In addition, decorative elements like a jewelled brooch or a jhalar (fringe) could be attached to the turban, or one end folded in pleats and tucked in like a fan. Jewellery From the sculptures we find there was a richness and profusion in the jewellery worn by both men and women. Earlier, it had a massive quality to it and the workmanship was coarse. A little later, with the Sungas, the jewellery became somewhat refined.

In the Arthashastra attributed to Kautilya, and in the sculptures of the period we find references which show us that the material used most frequently were gold and precious stones like corals, rubies, sapphires, agates, and crystals. Pearls too were used and beads of all kinds were plentiful including those made of glass. Certain ornaments were common to both sexes, like earrings, necklaces, armlets, bracelets and embroidered belts. Earring or karnika were of three types-a simple ring or circle called Kundala, a circular disc earring known as dehri and earrings with a flower-like shape known as Karnaphul.

Necklaces of two kinds were worn. A short one called Kantha which was broad and flat, usually gold, inlaid with precious stones, and a long one, the lambanam. These chain or bead necklaces were sometimes three-toseven stringed and were named after the number of strings of which they were composed. At the centre of each string of beads was an amulet for warding off evil forces. Baju band or armlets of gold and silver beads were worn on the upper arm, and were occasionally studded with precious stones. Bracelets called Kangan, very often made of square or round beads of gold, and richly embroidered cloth belts completed the male ensemble.

Women, in addition, wore girdle called mekhala, a hip belt of multi-stringed beads, originally made from the red seed kaksha but now made of gold and silver beads, with shapes ranging from round to square and oval. Dancing girls added on to these, chains of gold and silver to which bells were attached. All women wore anklets and thumb and finger rings. The rings were plain and crowded together on the middle joints of the fingers. Anklets were often of gold in this period, though silver was more common. They could be in the form of a simple ring, Kara, a thick chain, sankla, oran ornamental circle with small bells called ghungru.

There is no evidence of nose-rings in the period. Forehead ornaments for women were quite common and worn below the parting of the hair and at the center of the fore-head. These consisted of thin plate of gold or silver stamped in various patterns, as well as a star-shaped sitara and bina. And a tiny ornament called bindi. The only material evidence we have of a piece of Mauryan jewellery is a single earring found at Taxila dated second century BC which similar to Graeco-Roman and Etruscan Jewellery. Military Costume Sewn garments which had been used by the Persian soldiers were sometimes utilized for military dress by the Mauryans.

This consisted of a sleeved tunic with cross straps across the chest to carry the quiver, and a leather belt with sword. The lower garment was more often the Indian antariya rather than the Persian trousers. The headgear was usually the turban or headband, whereas the Persians had worn the pointed cap. The mixture of foreign and indigenous garments is interesting as it shows one of the early phases of evolution in the costumes of Indians. This came about in the colder north, where the Persian garments were more suitable, climatically and functionally, in case of soldiers.

Although, coats of mail are mentioned in the Arthshastra there is no visual evidence of it in this period. SIMPLER EXPLANATION The Costumes of this period began to be divided in three parts: • Antariya • Uttariya • Kayabandh These three terms were widely being used. Antariya is the lower piece of garment, which was made up of white cotton or linen. It was an unstitched piece of cloth tied around the waist in the kaccha style i. e. it passed from between the legs and extended upto the hips or ankle according to their occupation.

Kayabandh was a sash which was placed to keep the Antariya in place. In modern terminology we call it a belt. It was given different names like kalabuka, muraja, pattika all these were tied in different manner around the waist. Uttariya draped the top half of the body . It was usually made up of cotton and very rarely silk and was worn in many different ways it was wrapped around either the shoulders or only on one shoulder and tied at the waist with a knot. The peasant tied the Uttariya around their head so that it does not interfere with the work they do.

The Uttariya, Antariya and the Kayabandh were the three pieces of unstitched garments that came from the Vedic times. II. GUPTA EMPIRE : 4th – mid 8th century The Gupta period is known as the Golden age because it was a very prosperous period in which trade and commerce flourished and it lasted for more than two century it was a very vast kingdom which covered most of the north and the west of India. The costumes worn during the Gupta period was mainly stitched. Stitched garments began to be linked with royalty and in the gupta coins also we see the king in the Kushan dress that was a coat, trouser and boots.

But the influence of stitched garments was in the north only the people of the Deccan continued to wear unstitched garments and even the indigenous people of the Gupta period. The Brocade tunic was worn by the ministers, door-keepers and guards and a simpler version of the tunic which was white calf length tunic was worn by the chamberline and with it chaddar was worn. Below the Kancuka Antariya was worn. Kayabandh and ushnisa (turban) continued to be worn. Female costumes exact source is not known as there was a wide variety in it.

The Antariya was 4-8 yards long and 18-36 inches wide and was worn in several different ways. It was worn in the kaccha style and the lehenga styles in the lehenga style it dint pass from between the legs. It was widely worn as calf length,it was wrapped around at the right side of the waist and tucked in at the left side of the waist. Ankle length Antariya was worn by the nobility. Another form of wearing the Antariya was in the form of the Indonesian sarong. Another was a skirt known as Bhairnivasini which was stitched from one side and was gathered at the waist and was tabular in shape.

Flared skirt known as Ghagri was also seen, which is mostly worn by lambadan today. Women wore drawers which were langoti type and were known as Ardhoruka. This was introduced by women aesthetics and Jain nuns wore four of these which acted like the “chasity belt”. In this period women started covering their upper half of their body this also could be because they might have seen foreigners covering their breasts and they seemed to look more attractive by covering it rather than exposing it. So they started wearing different types of choli with back open or strings attached at the back.

The Uttariya continued to remain but it became sheerer during this age. Headgear and Hairstyles Simple plaits were no longer visible, and hair was so elaborately dressed at times, that the help of maid-servant who were expert hair-dressers was obviously essential. There were seemed to be broadly two styles of foreign origin, while the complicated ways of dressing long hair were mainly derived from South Indian and Deccani styles. The latter became extremely popular in the Gupta age. The use of to darken gums and lips, and henna to redden the palm and soles of the feet was fairly prevalent.

Of foreign origin was the short hair, which was sometimes frizzed in front with luxuriant ringlets quite unlike anything seen today, or just left hanging loose to the shoulders or lower, held by a fillet or a chaplet of flowers. The indigenous style showed itself in long hair worn in a bun either high or low on the neck or knotted at the side of the head, or with the coil wound on the left on top of the head. The bun itself was something a simple tight knot, at other times in the shape of the figure eight, or large and loosely wound, but almost always surrounded by flowers or had large lotus blossoms tucked into it.

In addition, there could be a, jewelled net or a net of pearls called , worn over the bun. Tiaras were often used with short or long hair, and pearl string could define the parting of the hair, as could be jewelled band. Fillets both simple and elaborate were commonly used to hold back short hair. Turbans too had not disappeared completely and women wore them very effectively, sometimes made of brocade or striped material, and completely covering the hair. The profuse use of flowers cannot be overemphasized in this period.

Besides surrounding the bun they were used as tiaras, and in as many ways to dress the hair as could conceivably be imagined by the women wearing them. In the Deccan, hair styles of the lower classes (even those belonging to the menial orders) or the peasant women could be as elaborate as those of the higher-class women. For men, a tiara or crown with a band inset with pearls and something festooned with garlands replaced the turban. This slowly became more common for the king when informally dressed in indigenous garments; attendants wore this as well with shoulder-length hair.

On the Gupta coins, however, the king is shown in dress and wears a skull cap or helmet as headgear. The king probably used this latter costume on formal occasions, which required military regalia, or at sports like hunting. In royal entourage, the turban continued to be worn by high officials, like the chamberlain, ministers, military officers, civic officials and so on, where it had become a distinctive symbol of their respective ranks. It could be of fine muslin tied over a large knot of hair at the centre of the forehead or a striped turban worn flat and twisted giving a rope-like effect to the cloth when wound.

The ministers were often Brahmins with all their hair shorn keeping only the ritual top knot. Generally, hair was worn loose by men, shoulder-length and curled, in the style, sometimes with a head band to hold it in place, or adorned with a strand of pearls. Very short hair was also fairly common and looked much like the hair worn today except that clear parting in the hair was seldom visible. There were, however, fashions in the dressing of men’s hair, which was sometimes cut unevenly at the edges, giving the appearance of a wig; at other times the earlier form of a top knot was employed, but n a more decorative manner, using only a portion of the hair, the rest hanging in curls to the shoulder. JEWELLERY Gold or hirana was more commonly used than ever before, especially in the Deccan where there were gold mines. Gold ornaments for both men and women were exquisitely made, acquiring a new delicacy as beaten work, filigree work and twisted wire was skillfully combined with jewelsparticularly pearls. Kundala was the general term for earrings, which were mainly for two types, both of which were circular. One was a large ring type and other was a button type, karnaphul, with a plain or decorated surface.

The bali, a small gold wire circlet worn on the upper part of the ear with pearls strung on it, or two pearls and one emerald, is still popular. Large ring-type earring later developed pendants that shook with the movements of the head and were called kancuka-kundala or ‘tremulous earring’. The sutra was a chain for the neck. When made of gold with precious stones in the centre, it was called hemasutra. But this was the era of the pearls necklaces or muktavali a single strand of small pearls was the haravsti, one of big pearls, the tarahara, and one with gem in the centre of the pearl was known as sudha ekavali.

However, it was the glorious vijayantika, a necklace made from a successive series of pearls, rubies, emeralds, blue stones and diamonds, that was most sought after. The nishka or coin necklace also continued to be popular. Upper arm ornaments were known as the angada and keyura, the former like a coiled snake, and the latter, a cylinder made of filigree work or inset with pearls. Bracelets, valaya were generally simple or inset with pearls. Bangles of conch shell or ivory were worn in set graded sizes, like those used by primitive and folk people today.

Finger rings, anguliya were of gold or studded with precious stones, ratnanguliya. Tiaras-kirita and crownmukuta were worn by men and women of the nobility and were particularly splendid, often having pearls suspended from them so as to delicately surround the face. All the above ornaments were common to both men and women. These were jewelled girdles, anklets, and an attractive ornament of two strings of pearls or flowers, worn crosswise on the chest and back, in the vaikaksha style. It was sometimes held by a clasp at the centre.

A very provocative garter-like ornament, the pada-patra, was sometimes worn by women on the upper part of the thigh. This ornament could be quite decorative with festoons of pearls and other ornamentation. The mekhala or girdle was worn by women quite low on the hips and suspended from the katisutra. The latter was probably a string tied at the waist and hidden under the upper edge of the antariya, in which it was rolled. The mekhala hung in a seductive clasp at the centre from this string, over or under which hung a small pleated frill of cloth. This is still seen in the Bharata Natyam dancer’s costume of today.

Men to hold the antariya used a simple straight belt or sometimes above it, which could have a buckle either square, round, rosette-shaped, or rectangular. On the women’s ankles the kinkini, with its small bells, tinkled as they moved, or there nupura (anklet) could be made from jewelled beads, maninupura. Although women of all classes wore anklets, they are not seen on the feet of goddesses in sculpture. Flowers in the form of necklaces, mala, were worn on the head, entwined in the hair, and looped around the neck or waist or worn crosswise in garlands on the chest.

The mala was usually made of fragrant kadamba flowers. Kings wore chaplets of white flowers even on military expeditions and officials of state tucked a bunch of flowers into their top knots. Women loved to decorate themselves with flowers as well, and wreaths of scented flowers hung from their ears. Their brows were also adorned with wreaths and heavy garlands of amarnath hung on their hips. Military Costume In previous centuries, except occasionally in the Satavahana age, there was no fixed uniform for the indigenous army.

It was the Kushan army, well clad and equipped, that became the prototype on which the new military uniform of the Guptas was based. The king himself adopted the royal costume in formal occasions as status symbol. In early period the Gupta soldier had worn the antariya with his bare chest inadequately covered by the six jewel-striped. This evolved into the more efficient foreign-influenced with trousers or short drawers, , and high boots, with a helmet or cap, and sometimes a fillet to tie back the hair.

Later the soldier’s uniform was either a shortor-long-sleeved knee-length tunic, kancuka, which had a centre front opening with V-shaped or round neck. The tunics were sometimes spotted with black aloe wood paste, which could be a type of tie-dye, oras it is known today. This may have been their version of the camouflage on military uniforms. It is possible that these tunics were worn over a brief antariyas, as the foot soldiers seldom wore trousers to cover their bare legs. Instead of knee-length kancuka a short tight-fitting blouse,, was sometimes worn with the short antariya.

Around the waist, the kayabandh could be wound once or twice, holding a short dagger or curved sword. Shields were curved or rectangular, the former sometimes decorated with a dragon’s head. Some soldiers continued to wear only the short which was often striped, and with this indigenous garment the wheel-type disc earring were still worn. Head-dresses were normally a simple skull cap or just a scarf or cloth wound around the head like a turban. The cavalry wore a more elaborate dress, closer in style to the original Parthian-Kushan dress being a mid-calf length quilted coat with long ruched sleeves.

With this was worn a fillet or head band, or sometimes a white turban. Others in the cavalry wore more colorful and diverse garments. Mid-thigh length tunics of brocade or printed cloth (for example, yellow with blue dots, green with checks in which a flowered motif was set in each compartment, or yellow with a pattern of birds, rosettes, lozenge shapes mainly in blue, yellow ochre or white), trousers and an a bossed flowers, completed their very colorful uniforms.

The elephant drivers were picturesque in their short-sleeved tight-fitting with decorative bands at the neck, hem, and sleeves. With this were worn short drawers of plain or gold-striped cloth and a skull cap or scarf on the head. The king himself, when attired for battle wore a short, tight – sleeved and an elaborate turban with serpent. His bodyguard carried curved swords like the Nepalese and shields of rhinoceros hide in checked designs. His sword-bearer wore a patterned tight tunic with pointed ends reaching to the knees, and the wound twice around the waist.

The leaders or chieftains of the various contingents in the army were decked in pearl-embroidered tunics made from the famous cloth of origin and chaddars of many colors, or in the complete Central Asian outfit consisting of a dark blue quilted tunics with a V-shaped neck and long full sleeves with soft dark trousers and a saffron turban of Indian origin instead of Central Asian conical cap. Armour was worn as further protection. It was known as the probably of Chinese origin. It was sleeveless covering the front and back, and was made of metal. A helmet for soldiers was known asmissi . 08/08/11 12:57 AM 08/08/11 12:57 AM


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