Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Headdress, Ear rings, Hair Braids

The song was playing on the T.V and my nani breathed out the names.

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Image: Sharmila Tagore in Shakti Samanta's Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). Religion unknown.

Tchand're Taa'che - Moon Headgear. Kashmiri Pandit woman also used to wear it.

Kan'waaj'e - Ear Rings

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The women are sometimes very handsome. The parda-nashins are, of course, very rarely seen. The men wear a long shirt called firan, which in the case of Hindus has long, narrow sleeves, and Muhammadans short, full ones. The Hindu woman or Punditani wears a girdle and has a white cap, whereas the Mussulman! wears a red head-dress. The black hair of young girls is braided in many thin strands, covering the back and forming a semi-circle, with a knot of hair hanging down the back, and stretching sometimes nearly to the feet.

- John Collett, A Guide for Visitors to Kashmir (1984)

 It was a somewhat wistful face, with great, shy, light- brown eyes. Her hair, too, was light brown, braided in many small braids, all caught together at the ends,reaching below her waist, and finished off with a large tassel of black wool, according to the decree of fashion in these parts. All round her forehead, soft, light-brown curls, blown by the wind, escaped from under her little cap. Her skin was very fair, and showed a delicate colour in her cheeks. There was a rebellious air about the pretty mouth. Dzunia was going to keep watch in her father's fields, to sit in a quaint little erection of straw and dried branches, like a huge nest, to scare away the birds and keep a look out for other pilferers. Her brother would not come to relieve her till late in the evening, and she had at least three hours of lonely vigil. She would break it by running home presently for a bowl of tea, but it was dull work.

P. Pirie, writing about a young Kashmiri village girl in Kashmir: The Land of Streams and Solitudes (1909)


Owing to hard work they soon lose their good looks. They are married at an early age, soon after ten. Little girls wear small skull-caps, and may have their hair beautifully done in a large number of plaits spread out over the back and gracefully braided together. After marriage, however, a thicker turban-like red cap, studded with pins, is worn, and over it a square of country cloth to act as a veil and cover the whole back. The rest of the usual dress of the village women is an ample pheran of dark blue cotton print, with a red pattein stamped on it; or the gown may be of grey striped cotton or wool, with wide sleeves turned back and showing a dirty lining. Round the neck a collar of silver or brass, enamelled in red or blue, or a coral and silver bead necklace, is usually worn; and large metal ear-rings are common. Glass bangles  or massive silver bracelets and finger rings, with agate or cornelian, complete the list of ordinary jewellery worn by Kashmiri women. The feet are bare, or leather shoes, often green, are worn. The houses are without chimneys, so the inmates become smoke-begrimed. There are fewer Mohammedan women than men. The ratio is about nine to ten. Perhaps for this reason polygamy is comparatively uncommon.

More females are born than males, but baby girls do not receive so much care as the boys, and the mortality from smallpox and infantine diseases is higher. The girls are often mothers at the age of fourteen.

Kashmiri women vary very much. A very large number of the peasant women are dirty, degraded and debased. But there are not a few who are very different and who are capable and manage their houses and children and even their husbands.
- Ernest Frederic Neve, Beyond the Pir Panjal: Life and Missionary Enterprise in Kashmir (1915)

The little girls of 6 — 9 are very pretty but their beauty must soon go, for though the women are mostly pleasant-looking, very few indeed can be called pretty. The little children wear bright-coloured tight-fitting caps, heavily ornamented with showy " jewels " and with very heavy flat triangular ornaments hanging at either side of their head with short chains of beads or pearls attached to them : they also wear heavy necklaces and anklets. The women wear long ear-rings with a great number of objects dangling from them which rather resemble a well-filled key-ring.

The little girls have their hair done in rather a peculiar manner : numerous little plaits lengthened by the addition of some foreign black material are joined behind the neck to the two outside plaits which meet in a knot with a tassel or cord hanging from it.
- Ambrose Petrocokino, CASHMERE:  Three Weeks in a Houseboat (1920)

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Image: A Kashmiri woman in Hijab and Pink slipper. June 2008.

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