History of Sari

History of Sari

The most graceful garment, sari has not only found a mention in Vedas but its exquisite drapery has been described in Ancient Tamil poetry such as the Silappadhikaram and the Sanskrit work, Kadambari by Banabhatta. Also the ancient stone inscription from Gangaikonda Cholapuram in old Tamil scripts has a reference to hand weaving.Sculptures from the Gandhara, Mathura and Gupta schools that date back to 1st to 6th century AD show goddesses and dancers wearing sari  in what appears to be a dhoti wrap, in the “fishtail” version which covers the legs loosely and then flows into a long, decorative drape in front of the legs.

World’s oldest piece of cloth and the most ancient surviving fashion statement , Sari derives its name from Sanskrit word शाटी śāṭī which means ‘strip of cloth’ and शाडी śāḍī or साडी sāḍī in Prakrit. The word ‘Sattika’ meaning sari is mentioned in ancient India in Buddhist Jain literature called Jatakas for describing women’s attire. History of saree dates back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, which flourished during 2800–1800 BC around the western part of the Indian subcontinent.

It is said that cotton and the art of weaving it into fabric came to India from the Mesopotamian civilization and so the men and women of the contemporary Indus Valley Civilisation were familiar with cotton fabrics and wore long pieces of material.

When the Aryans came into the plains of the mighty north Indian rivers, they brought with them the word vastra for the first time. As they moved southwards, they adopted the practice of wearing cotton weaves, in the manner of the Indus Valley inhabitants. In time, this style of wearing a length of cloth around the waist and the cloth itself came to be known as neevi.

In Natya Shastra, an ancient Indian treatise describing ancient dance and costumes, the navel is considered to be the source of life and creativity, hence the midriff would be left bare while draping a sari. The kanchuki, mentioned in many of the legends was a piece of cloth worn across the breasts by women. It was probably the earliest form of the choli. For longneevi and kanchuki remained the major mode of apparel for women.

With the influence of the Greeks and the Persians, the clothes of all classes of Indians were in for a major change as they introduced the art of stitching and adorning with pearls and precious stones.Women in India began to wear stitched short jacket to cover their upper torsos. Such jackets are shown in many sculptures of this period in Mathura and in the caves of Ajanta. These jackets evolved into more compact and snugly fitted choli.

The saree underwent one more major revolution during the Moghul period when saree in its modern form finally came into existence with pallu or upper end of the saree being invented to cover the head as a veil as it was required by the Muslim society.

Saree was always viewed as an object of beauty and creativity and was made with the finest of fabrics and embellished with gold and silver wires and gems to create designs reminiscent of the splendor.

Wearing a sari is a beautiful and sensuous way to express one’s femininity. For some it’s a matter of habit or identity, for others it’s about style and glamour. But unanimously women agree that a sari is elegant and classy. It really highlights a woman’s curves and can be very flattering. Almost every woman feels like a princess when she puts on a sari for the first time. In fact the whole idea of draping a sari is nothing less than an art in itself; right from making the pleats to delicately pleating the pallu and placing it rightly.

The mystique of a sari has captured the imagination of women from across the globe as it gives tremendous scope to let loose once imagination. When kept simple, saris keep us rooted to our culture and tradition and when encrusted with sequins and bling, these shimmering, gossamer creations notch up the glamour quotient. Infact, blousesare an integral part of the sari ensemble and can enhance its fashion quotient and women these days love to experiment with different kinds of blouses.

Engaging and exciting, the very fact that this traditional outfit still remains a hot favorite among many young women in the city today shows the versatility of the sari, versatility in terms of design, look, and style.

Reference: http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/THE-ORIGIN-OF-THE-SAREE-1.aspx



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