I. MAURYA DYNASTY
Men and women continued to wear three unstitched garments, as in Vedic times. The main garment was the antariya of white cotton, linen or flowered muslin, sometimes embroidered in gold and precious stones. For men, it was an unstitched length of cloth draped around the hips and between the legs in the kachcha style, extending from the waist to the calf or ankles or worn even shorter by peasants and commoners. 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. The kayabandh could be simple sash, vethaka; one with drum-headed knot at the ends, muraja; a very elaborate band of embroidery, flat and ribbon-shaped, pattika; or a many-stringed one, kalabuka. The third item of clothing called uttariya was another length of material, usually fine cotton, very rarely silk, which was utilized as a long scarf to drape the top half of the body. uttariya was worn in several ways to suit the comforts of the wearer: very elegantly by those at court, who drape it on both shoulders or one shoulder, or diagonally across the chest and casually knotted at the waist, or it could even be worn loosely across the back and supported by the elbows or wrist, and in many other ways according to the whims of the
weather. But for the labourer and the craftsman, it was more a practical garment to be tied around the head as protection from sun, or tightly around the waist leaving the hands free for work, or again as a towel to mop the face when sweating. Its uses were endless for the poor sections of the society and for them it would be made of coarse cotton. Women tied their antariya in different ways. Originally opaque, it later became more and more transparent. A simple small antariya or strip of cloth, langoti was attached to the kayabandh at the center front, and then passed between the legs and tucked in at the back. A longer version of the antariya was the knee-length one, being first wrapped around and secured at the waist, the longer end then pleated and tucked in at the front, and the shorter end finally drawn between the legs, Kachcha style, and tucked in at the waist at the back. Another version, the lehnga style, was a length of cloth wrapped around the hips tightly to form a tabular type of skirt. This was not drawn between the legs in the kachcha style. The uttariyas of upper-class women were generally of thin material decorated with elaborated borders and quite often worn as a head covering. Their kayabandhs were very similar to those of the men. In addition, they sometimes wore a patka, a decorative piece of cloth attached to the kayabandh in front by tucking in one end at the waist. The patka was made from plaited wool or cotton, twisted yarn or leather, and at times it was also woven. Although, footwear is often mentioned in Vedic literature there is no sculptural evidence for this period, except in the case of soldiers who wear the Persian boot. It may be because shoes could not be taken inside a stupa or Buddhist temple, that they were not depicted on the sculptures on stupas. In the more remote villages and jungles, shepherds, hunters and people of similar occupations were mostly aboriginal or belonged to the lowest caste. They generally wore simple unbleached coarse varieties of the cotton antariya and turbans, much the same as we find today, and the practice of tattooing was fairly common. The more primitive tribes who lived in the forest wore garments made from grass (Kusa), skin, and fur.
Headgear and Hairstyles
Women generally covered their heads with the uttariya, worn straight or crosswise, often resplendent with beautiful borders. The hair, centrally parted, was made into one or two...