Varying patterns of sculpture and costumes | Daily News

Varying patterns of sculpture and costumes

Sculptures are the main source for costume designing in oriental dance forms. Among the first four main categories of Abhinaya, costumes and ornaments come under the topic of Aharyia Abhinaya. The selection of costumes is one of the most important factors of dance. Today most dancers are very much impressed by the selection of different colours. According to Natya Sastra, chapter 23 is devoted to costumes and make-up. (Manmohan Ghosh edition, pg. 410).

It further describes the colour of the costumes and designs (pg 418 to 419). According to Natya Sastra, Viraha women are supposed to wear white. The female monkey character is supposed to wear blue, and a black dress was given to Rakshastha women. A Siddha woman is supposed to wear yellow, Gandharva women should wear saffron. Goddesses are supposed to wear parrot green. Again another work on Bharatha Natyam titled ‘Bharata Natya and its costumes’ published in 1958 by G.S. Ghuye devoted a whole chapter for costumes. Sarangadeva too has mentioned dance costumes.

Low waist costumes

According to the ancient sculptures, especially the dance sculptures of the 1st century BC artists wore very low waist costumes which were known as Kacham. During that time they were named Bharhut dancers. According to the sculptures of the 1st century A.D, one can easily analyse that most of the sculptures were without upper jackets. But they wore beautiful ornaments and sacred threads which covered the upper chest of the dancers. It is understood that some of the ancient sculptures were tinted in colours.

The Sanga period sculptural costumes reveal elaborate and exclusive patterns. Most costumes were very tight, a lot of front pelts are seen and the pleats started from the lower waist of the dancing sculptures. The edges of the sculptural saris were described as fishtails. But the sculptural figures of the Sanga period did not have the fishtail, but some spread sash type of clothing was seen at the lower waist level. Some ornaments are worn over the thighs. In the later periods, the dance sculptures are depicted with very tight costumes, especially the lower pants were very tight. It could be seen in the Uthera Pradesh Museum.

South Indian sculpture

In some of the sculptures, costumes are wearing skin-tight pants with a small fan at the hip. At Gowalor some of the upper portions of the dance sculptures are covered with shawls. They added an extra aesthetic essence to the sculptures. In the Chola period the worshipping sculptures at the temples, and decorative sculptures of temples, cultural champers, decorative sculptures in and around the places near the water reservoirs and ponds, depict the different patterns of costumes. Still, we have the opportunity to see that some dance sculptures wear shorts type of costumes. But numerous sashes are seen tied around the hips. Some of the sashes are seen above the knee level. At present numerous sculptures are seen with knee level shorts or shorts above the knee level.

Some of the short types of costumes are worn with a small fan in between the shorts. Some of the South Indian sculpture are seen with long striped pyjama costumes. The costumes are seen without small fans, some are with fans without properly pleated, which are like long cloths. Some of the statues depict long tight pyjamas with costumes with shaded colour. The Chidamparam sculptures wear pyjamas. Some of the costumes resemble tharu pattern costumes. Some of the dancing statues of the Vijayanagara period reveal that some dancing sculptures wear skirt type of systemically pleated dance costumes. During the Vijayanagara period dancing sculptures wore anklets. Some of the Vijayanagara dancing sculptures wear firmly-tied upper jackets. Today the pattern of upper jackets in Bharatha Natyam resembles the continuation of the Vijayanagara period.

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