Indian and Scythian Dress

Samar Abbas abbas at BETA.IOPB.STPBH.SOFT.NET
Fri Oct 23 17:27:23 UTC 1998

Thank you for this eye-opener, Prof. Vassilkov.  The upper and lower
garments for men (consisting of a precursor to the `dhoti' and an upper
cloth thrown around the chest) and women are mentioned as being in use in
the period 1000-1200 AD [ `Social and Cultural History of Northern India
1000-1200 AD', Prof. B.N.Sharma, Abhinav Publications New Delhi 1972 ].
Thus it seems that Indo-Aryan dress hadn't changed much from 1500 BC -
1200 AD, a period of 2700 years !


On Tue, 20 Oct 1998, Yaroslav V. Vassilkov wrote:

>         Though the information on the dress of the Vedic Indians is scanty
> and far from clear, we can surmise it hardly was very different from the dress
> of the Epic period, which consisted (for both sexes) of two pieces of cloth
> ("lower and upper garments" throughout the Mbh, but see especially the Tale
> of Nala in Book III) of which one was wrapped around the hips and another
> somehow covered the shoulders (cf. Vedic words adhIvAsa-, upastir-). The upper
> cape could be sometimes made of skin or fur (Vedic carman-, kRtti-), but
> the trousers, leather or cloth, were absolutely unknown. It is a historical
> fact that the trousers as a dress item were invented by the Scyths - the
> first really nomadic people who started to spent most of their lives on
> horseback (the Vedic Aryans were not true nomads, their way of life was
> rather "pastoralism cum agriculture"). Leather boots and belts with metal
> buckles too may be traced to the cultures of the Scyths and their eastern
> nomadic neighbours in the Great Steppe: Hunns, Tokharians, Early Turks. All
> these items we can first see in India on the statues and coins of the zaka and
> KuSANa rulers, but since the Gupta period or so some of them became common in
> India (I mean the designs only, but not materials, because leather and fur
> were very soon discarded in the Indian climatic conditions).
>         The history of Indian and Iranian dress is not a special field of
> my studies, so I may be wrong in some details. Thanks in advance for any
> corrections.
>                                                 Yaroslav Vassilkov

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