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the ancient style of dress, or fabric of which it was composed, has changed very little to the present day. Dhotees may now be somewhat broader, especially the better kinds of them, and so reach to midleg or lower; but the mode of putting on or wearing this garment, the folds passing between the legs, and tucked into the waist behind, and the long plaited or folded ends hanging in front, were precisely the same then as now; and this also may be said of the saree, or women's garment, tied and worn after the same fashion. We shall describe these cloths as they are made and worn at present, as we proceed with the description of modern Indian costumes; but it may be safely inferred that what existed at the period of the Buddhist paintings at Ajunta had been the ordinary apparel of Hindus and Buddhists alike for centuries before, and that it had changed as little from the period of the Vedas and the Institutes of Menu to that of the Buddhists, as it has changed since.
It is a remarkable fact that in all these records of Indian costume there is no example of sewn garments; nor is there any evidence of the existence of “tailors,' as artisans or handicraftsmen; it is even doubtful whether any such workmen were known to the Sanscrit language.
The word, suchi-karmavid, ' worker with a needle,'is perhaps the nearest approach to tailor; but a needle may have been used in many ways; for embroidery, for instance; for sewing trappings of horses and elephants, sackcloth, tents, and the like; and as there appears no word to express the actual trade of tailor, as a cutter out, fashioner, and sewer of garments, we may assume that sewn apparel was not used in India until a comparatively late period. It is quite possible, however, that the * varma syutam,' mentioned in the · Rig Veda,' was a mailcoat, sewn, and padded with cotton. On some of the earlier memorial-stones in the Dharwar temples there are combatants with gorgets, and, as it were, epaulettes of padded cloth; and a kind of cuirass about the body, probably of the same material, and of much the same fashion as used by native soldiers to this day. Their horses too have saddles or saddlecloths with headstalls and reins. The sewing of leather, and of padded cotton vests, gorgets, gauntlets, and thigh pieces, must therefore be very ancient indeed ; and it is evident that such means of protection in battle were used from the fifth to the tenth centuries in Western India. In the Dharwar sculptures—the records of Chalúkyas, Hoi Sàlás, Belláls, and other local dynasties-although defensive armour occurs, there is no trace of sewn garments. One and all, the male figures have short waistcloths or dhotees, with an end in some cases cast over the shoulder ;
and the females are in the same costume, with this difference, both in the earlier memorial-stones and some of the profuse sculpture on the Temple at Hullabeed in Mysore (Dwara Samoodra, tenth to twelfth century, A.D.), that they wore bodices, tied in front, as Hindu women wear them at present. This, however, is no evidence; for tailors are in no case employed to make women's bodices, which are cut out and sewn exclusively by the women themselves, of all classes, in all parts of India. In the south of India no bodices are worn by any respectable females; it is only,' they say, 'courtesans, who are ashamed of them, who hide their bosoms. Here, therefore, we find the most ancient form of female costume in India still in use; and the single cloth or saree, partly formed into a petticoat, with the end passing over the bosom and left shoulder, leaving the right shoulder and arm bare--as depicted in the Buddhist paintings at Ajunta without a bodice-is unchanged from that period.
This saree is, in fact, the national costume of almost all Hindu women, and occasionally of the Mahommedans, in India. In Oude and Rajpootana, the North-West provinces, and the Punjab, the voluminous petticoat introduced by the Mahommedans is worn by many Hindu women, whether secluded or otherwise; but this practice is confined to those northernmost provinces of India, and is unknown from Rajpootana southwards to Cape Comorin. Bengal and Orissa also adhere to the ancient national costume; and the article of dress only varies with local taste as to colour, length and breadth, and fineness or closeness of texture. There is no female costume more elegant than a saree.
It is an entire cloth, in many cases eighteen yards long and about a yard broad; and the texture varies from the finest and most open character of muslin in Bengal and the south of India, to the still fine but closer texture of the Deccan, Central India, and Guzerat. But sarees are of all qualities, to suit the very poorest as well as the very richest classes of society--the ordinary labourer and the princess. In the manner of tying and wearing this garment there is little difference anywhere. The cloth, which has one plain end, is passed round the loins, and the upper border tied in a strong knot; the cloth is then passed two, three, or even four times round the waist, to form a petticoat, which, if the saree be a proper breadth, reaches to the ground. A portion is then pleated neatly into folds and tucked in before, so as to hang down in front to the instep, or even lower. The remainder of the cloth is passed across the bosom over the left shoulder and head, on which it rests, the orna
mented ends falling partly over the right arm below the waist. In the south of India, however, the end does not pass over the head; it is drawn tightly over the left shoulder and bosom, and tucked into the waist behind, or on the right hip. Most frequently, however, respectable women of the Deccan and the south wear a gold or silver zone, according to their circumstances, which, passing over all, confines the drapery to the waist in graceful folds. This zone appears unknown to the northward, and in many cases is beautifully wrought and extremely ornamental.
The bodice named chôlee, used everywhere except in the south, is cut square in the back with square pieces which meet in front, and are tied by the ends in a strong knot under the bosom. The only seams are under the arms; and the sleeve, which in some instances reaches below the elbow, and in others above it, is put into the hole left unsewn in the upper part of the square body piece. The construction of this article of attire is very simple, and every woman makes her
Another form of bodice, named “angia,' is entirely closed in front, and is shaped out to fit the bosom. It is tied behind in two places, one across the shoulders, the other below the line of bosom. This garment is, we think, of Mahommedan invention, as it is worn by Mahommedan women, and those Hindus only that have adopted the petticoat.
The costumes of Mahommedan women consist of petticoats, generally very wide indeed, and falling in heavy folds. Some wear an underpetticoat of fine calico as a protection to the costly stuff of which the outer garment is composed, or to escape friction. The stuff--satin, silk, or cotton cloth, is gathered into a strong band of tape, which is tied over one hip, and the plaits or gathers are carefully made, so as to allow the cloth to fall in graceful folds. Over the chôlee or angia bodice is a light muslin shirt, which continues below the waist, called a koortun: and over all a scarf of white or coloured muslin of fine texture, called doopatta, passed once round the waist, and thence across the bosom and over the left shoulder and head, like the saree, completes the costume. Where the laenga or petticoat is not worn, paijámas or trousers take their place. These are sometimes worn loose, as in Oude and Bengal; and elsewhere as tight as they can be made. The cutting out of these tight trousers is no easy matter, for they have several gores on the
The ancient female costume of Egypt, a saree or single robe, appears to have been put on and worn in precisely the same manner, without a bodice.
inside of the thigh; and are contrived so that they are flexible however tight, and do not hinder the wearer from sitting crosslegged. With the trousers, which are tied at the waist, are worn the angia or chôlee bodice, the koortun or shirt, and the doopatta or scarf. In full dress a Mahommedan lady wears the peshwàz or Persian robe, in which dancing-women usually perform. It has long tight sleeves, a tight body crossed in front, and a very voluminous muslin skirt, the most fashionable amplitude being about forty, or even sixty yards in circumference. This garment is often trimmed in a costly manner with gold or silver lace, and is only worn as a bridal dress or at domestic festivals.
We need not follow female costume further, for what there is in addition to that already mentioned, consists only in variations of the component parts; and male costume may now be briefly noticed. To every Hindu, of all parts of India alike, the dhotee is an indispensable garment. Should he even wear drawers or trousers, he will have a dhotee, large or small
, underneath. The dhotee is a single piece of cloth, from two and a half to three and a half yards long by two to three feet broad, with ornamented ends and borders, which will be adverted to presently. It is put on precisely like the saree, but is generally worn in a single fold only round the waist. The plaited folds in front are made like those of the saree, and, if passed between the legs and tucked into the waist behind, the dhotee becomes a pair of drawers as it were, reaching to the knee or even below it, as may be desired. Dhotees are woven in pairs, and while one piece is worn as above stated, the other is thrown over the head and shoulders or passed across the chest only, like a shepherd's plaid, or the scarfs used for similar purposes which are observable in Greek and Roman draperies. It is probable, indeed, that the costume of the early Greeks may have been nearly the same as that of the Hindus; and the attire of a Brahmin with a shaven head, and the upper and lower dhotee worn as we have stated, resembles in many respects that of a Greek statue. We have already detailed the costume of the male figures in Buddhist and Hindu sculptures of nearly two thousand years ago; and except that the dhotee may now be somewhat broader and longer as a general rule, there is literally no change. It would be impossible, in fact, to invent anything more perfectly convenient than a dhotee, whether to sit in, to lie in, or to walk in. In long and rapid marches in India, officers who know the habits of native sepoys, have stripped them of their English-fashioned trousers, and taken them in dhotees marches of thirty or forty miles a day; ten of which
would have been labour with the trousers. Whether the Mahommedans after their invasion, copying the dhotee, invented the loongee, which is the same fabric with a different pattern, or whether they brought the loongee with them, it is hard to say, but in use they are precisely similar.
Into other articles of male costume it is needless to enter. They are in all instances sewn garments, cut out by tailors and made by them; and there are, perhaps, as many varieties of vests and tunics—angrékas, joobbhás, coortás, chupkuns, mirzaees, and the like—as there are surtouts, paletots, cambridges, &c., fashioned by Mr. Poole. Many of these are worn by Mahommedans and Hindus alike; the only difference being that the Hindu ties or buttons his vest on the right side, the Mahommedan on the left. The use of these sewn clothes may probably have begun with the Mahommedan invasion or with the settlement of Mahommedans in Northern India. If they did not bring tailors in any number with them, there were at least, probably, some accompanying their camps, and among an ingenious people the craft would soon take root and spread rapidly. In Northern India many or most of the native tailors are Mahommedans; in Bengal, Mahommedans and Portuguese; while in the west and south of India they are, almost exclusively, Hindus and Portuguese. We do not mean to say, however, that Hindu tailors are not found everywhere; and these may be the descendants of the needle-plying handicraftsmen who, like the weavers, smiths, and carpenters, found a place in the enumeration of trades in Menu's Institutes' and the . Yâgnyawalkya.'
While, then, it is impossible to change the costume of the majority of Indian wearers of all classes from loom-woven garments, as sarees, dhotees, or loongees, to attire which is cut out and sewn together by tailors in the modern fashion, it is above all things necessary that our manufacturers, if they desire to compete with the Indian weavers, should consult the exact taste and requirements of the people; and, under careful observance of these points, we see no reason why they should not do so in a successful manner. But they must imitate, not invent. The people of India are not disposed to accept alteration of pattern in size or texture, of such garments; and the ornamentation bestowed upon them, while it evinces the patient labour and delicate manipulation of the Indian weaver, is throughout in admirable taste and keeping as to colour. In this respect, Dr. Forbes Watson's remarks, in his introduction to his work, are as valuable as they are strictly true. In reference to the specimens collected by him, 700 of which are bound up in the