Headdress - DOT-Maharashtra Tourism

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Maharashtra, India.

Unique Features

As depicted in various hieroglyphs, sculptures, paintings, since the prehistoric period, headdresses were an important and integral part of human culture. These were part of the attire of the human race besides jewellery during day-to-day life as well as on ceremonial occasions. The environmental factor, available raw-material, faiths and traditions and fashion trends affected the design and development of the headdress. All sorts of material, right from wool, grass, cloth, metal, animal horns, glass, jewels, feathers, flowers etc., is used in the design of a headdress. Artificial wigs and veils too are part of this fashion statement. Protection from the harsh weather and during wars were other primary usages of a headdress.

Like the history of headdresses, the world over, India too has a long history of headdress design and usage. Various characters depicted on the Harappan seals can be seen with different kinds of headdresses. The Buddha sculptures in the Gandhara and Mathura art forms in the later period are shown with a unique style of a headdress styled with the Buddha’s hair. The sculptures from the Satavahana period in Maharashtra, as depicted in the Buddhist caves as well as the paintings in the Ajanta caves, portray the ancient sources of modern fashion designs. The initial literary reference to a headdress is in the Atharvaveda and Shatapatha Brahmana and the word is mentioned as ‘Ushneesha’. The Ushneesha is used by a kind and a Vratya – a person without a thread ceremony samskara at a proper age during the Yagnya ceremony. Shatapatha Brahmana speaks of a Ushneesha worn by queen Indrayani. A circular-shaped, conch shaped, jewel decked headdress was in vogue during the 2nd century BCE. This trend kept on changing over time, overall the regions.

Cultural Significance

Maharashtra has an interesting and colourful diaspora of headdresses.
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