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Jewelry of Indo-Pakistan and Bangladesh

Usha Bala

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The vibrant tradition of Indian jewelry spans five thousand continuous years. Ancient Indians wore jewels of natural materials like shells and tusks, thought to have magical properties. Precious metals were coveted. Gold was regarded as a symbol of the sun; chandi, the term for silver, came from the Sanskrit chandra, meaning moon. Metals were regularly melted. Remarkably well-preserved gold and silver items excavated at Taxila, in modern-day Pakistan, constitute the largest cache of jewelry survi

The Turban: India and Pakistan

Vandana Bhandari

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Since ancient times the turban has constituted an important part of male dress on the Indian Subcontinent. Its basic form is a wrapped headdress made from a length of fabric that is coiled or pleated and wound around the head. The type of fabric, its dimensions, color, ornament, and style of wrapping may vary, but the essential concept, purpose, and mode of construction remain the same throughout the different regions where it is worn. The turban was known by several Sanskrit names in antiquity—u

Introduction to South Asia

Jasleen Dhamija

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

South Asia possesses a wide range of terrain. The northern area has high mountain ranges in Nepal along with the high-altitude plateaus of Ladakh and Bhutan, while eastern India and Bangladesh have tropical areas with high rainfall. There is the Thar Desert, which extends from Pakistan, Rajasthan, and Haryana to Delhi. The fertile Punjab, watered by five rivers, has since ancient times attracted migrations from Central Asia. The ancient riverine culture of the Indus, Saraswati, and Ganges nurture

India

Jasleen Dhamija

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The different geoclimatic conditions and rich ethnic mix in India have led to various dress styles, stemming from migrations of peoples from Central Asia and China, and possibly the Goths. The strongest clothing tradition for women is draping, unstitched cloth being considered sacred. Although India absorbed various cultures, external factors did not impact greatly on it until incursions by Mahmud of Gazna (997 c.e.). Influence from Afghans, Turks, and Arabs heralded the introduction of Islam, br

The Sash, Patka, or Kamarband

B. N. Goswamy

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The patka—known in its many variations by other names: kamarband, cummerbund, sash, waistband, girdle, phenta, and the like—is the long, elegant textile strip that once adorned nearly every noble waist in India and South Asia. The patka may have found its finest, most sumptuous expression in the Mughal period, but its history is long. The word itself, for all the medieval associations it carries, seems to go back to early Sanskrit and is probably derived from patta—defined in Monier Monier-Willia

Stitched and Shaped Garments

Kalyan Krishna

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Sewn garments are rarely seen in early Indian sculptures, although they were worn by attendants or foreigners. Stitched garments were allegedly introduced in India in the early Christian era, when tribes migrated from Central Asia, or through the coming of Islam. Early Buddhist literature, however, contains several references to stitched clothing. During the Gupta period (approximately 280 to 550 c.e.), fully tailored, partly stitched, and unstitched costumes were fashionable. By the late twelfth

Royal Dress in India and Pakistan

Ritu Kumar

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

India’s oldest literary works, the Vedas (1500–500 b.c.e.) contain no exact descriptions of royal clothing; however, accounts of flowing, gold-embroidered clothes, obviously regal dress, appear in the earliest Veda. The Aryans instituted kingship and social hierarchy. Early royalty clearly wore waist wraps, sashes, upper garments, and turbans. In northern Indian kingdoms, Central Asian influence dominated; local royalty is depicted in flowing garments and elaborate jewelry. The southern Indian Sa

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