Tag Archives: ancient india

The Historical Drama – Chitralekha

A few more posts on modern interpretations of Ancient Indian Costume where the productions depart from fidelity to historical costume, either because the production follows the norms of popular Indian cinema or modern theatre. The full Bollywood treatment (i.e. vaguely accurate) … Continue reading

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Ancient Indian Costume

The main garment was the antariya of white cotton, linen or flowered muslin, sometimes embroidered in gold and precious stones. 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. … Continue reading

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The Light of Asia/Prem Sanyas

mudwerks: Seeta Devi, 1925 (by pictosh) You can see an example of the breast band in The Light of Asia/Prem Sanyas. The film is about the life of Gautama Buddha with Seeta Devi playing the Buddha’s wife. There are a number of stills at memsaab’s site, … Continue reading

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Amrapali

Vyjayanthimala in the film on the life of Amrapali, the Licchavi courtesan who converted to Buddhism. Bhanu Athaiya (who also designed for Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam and later won an Oscar for Gandhi) apparently based the costumes on Buddhist frescoes, though in the frescoes (as in the statues … Continue reading

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Conrad Rooks’ Siddhartha

Under black hair, which made to tower high on her head, he saw a very fair, very delicate, very smart face, a brightly red mouth, like a freshly cracked fig, eyebrows which were well tended and painted in a high … Continue reading

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Utsav/Mṛcchakaṭika

Your garment’s border, red and fair, Is all a-shiver in the air; Another courtesan, this time the fabulous Rekha playing Vasantasena in the film adaptation of Mṛcchakaṭika (The Little Clay Cart). The garment is in fact red in the movie and given Vasantasena’s wealth, she wears … Continue reading

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Santosh Sivan’s Asoka

Santosh Sivan’s epic film of the Mauryan King, Asoka, surprisingly sticks to a simple, subdued palette and body decoration for the princess Kaurwaki. Again not quite the choli but perhaps a sewn breast band. And the film it appears is fairly authentic in terms of plot.

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The Mythology Post

Though I have posted a lot on blouse “borrowings” from the West, one thing that differentiates the Indian version is that the midriff is normally exposed.  There is a long history to the choli/kanchuki and modern representations of historical attire often … Continue reading

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