What kind of cloths Indo-Aryans wore ?

Aug 2019
49
India
I am interested in dressing style of Indo Aryans when they were in,

1) Central Asia

2) When they entered india (early rigvedic period)

I know that upper 2 castes kept using animal skin such as Tiger skin for Kshatriya and deer skin for brahmins as early as ramayana period so I guess central Asia being a cold place they must have used similar kind of cloths.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,931
New Delhi, India
Valmiki's Ramayana cannot be taken as the source to know what Aryans wore in Central Asia before coming to India. Valmiki wrote when the word 'Aryan' had lost even its racial significance. Valmiki may tell about what Indians wore before the Christian era. In Central asia, Aryans perhaps wore the clothes which were worn by Kushanas later in the history. Trousers and not dhotis; and in winters, skins. In India, they wore what Indians were wearing, perhaps trousers in the northern regions and dhotis, veshtis in the southern parts. I also do not think tiger-skin jackets would have been that common. Normally, it would have been deer, goats, sheep.
 
Mar 2013
1,084
Breakdancing on the Moon.
Yeah you're gonna have to define your terms a lot better; according to wikipedia there are 1.3bn Indo-Aryans today...

But, roughly, for the earliest period you can assume breeches/dhotis and tunics for the men. *Maybe* some animal skins (but there is some ambivalence here and there about religious and caste proprietary). Women wearing things like saris.

Actually the kind of clothing you find across NW India, the steppes, and even Eastern Europe traditionally is very similar. Which suggests they were responding to similar practical constraints.

I agree with @Aupmanyav that the Kushans are a very good visual analogue.
 
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Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,931
New Delhi, India
What we know for sure is that Sudas' soliders wore their hair in a bun on the left and his adversaries wore the hair bun on the right during the Battle of Ten Kings (Dasharajna War). That is mentioned in RigVeda. :D

"śvityañco mā dakṣiṇataskapardā dhiyaṃjinvāso abhi hi pramanduḥ l"
THESE who wear hair-knots on the right, the movers of holy thought, white-robed, have won me over.
Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XXXIII Vasiṣṭha., Verse 1
 
Mar 2013
1,084
Breakdancing on the Moon.
What we know for sure is that Sudas' soliders wore their hair in a bun on the left and his adversaries wore the hair bun on the right during the Battle of Ten Kings (Dasharajna War). That is mentioned in RigVeda. :D

"śvityañco mā dakṣiṇataskapardā dhiyaṃjinvāso abhi hi pramanduḥ l"
THESE who wear hair-knots on the right, the movers of holy thought, white-robed, have won me over.
Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XXXIII Vasiṣṭha., Verse 1
Yes, I've always found that weird. Not just the idea that they all got together and had mutually distinguishing hairstyles (that is poetic fancy), but the idea of the side-knot itself.

It sounds like it would look idiotic, but we know ancient men wore similar hairstyles. Take the Suebian knot on ancient Germanics. This was very popular, we have actual physical evidence in terms of human remains (the Osterby man) and artwork (a small statue called 'the chained Germanic') as well as literature: Tacitus tells us that men wore it look taller and more fierce (??!?!?!) and to distinguish slave from free.

I can definitely se kshatriya wearing knotted hair. Warrior societies love to give their men long hair and knotting it is useful for battle (padding under helmets). I've previously had a man-bun. Just not on the side lol.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,931
New Delhi, India
My post above corrected: Sudas wore it on the right. And it was some protection along with the head dress at a time when there were no helmets (or at least not all had it).
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,862
USA
I am interested in dressing style of Indo Aryans when they were in,

1) Central Asia

2) When they entered india (early rigvedic period)

I know that upper 2 castes kept using animal skin such as Tiger skin for Kshatriya and deer skin for brahmins as early as ramayana period so I guess central Asia being a cold place they must have used similar kind of cloths.
I think it is mainly hunter gatherers who wore animal skins. Viewing the clothing on Tarim basin mammies could give an idea of the Indo-Aryan clothing of the times, as they entered India.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,931
New Delhi, India
Skins, not always. It can become hot in Tarim Basin. July tempterature in Khotan (Hotan) is 32.4 degree C. And Tarim basin had a branch of Indo-Aryans, the Tocharians.
Merv 39, Maimana/Faryab, Afghanistan 37, Herat 36.7.
One can't wear skins with these temperatures.

"Their costumes, and especially textiles, may indicate a common origin with Indo-European neolithic clothing techniques or a common low-level textile technology. Chärchän man wore a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who examined the tartan-style cloth, discusses similarities between it and fragments recovered from salt mines associated with the Hallstatt culture."
Tarim mummies - Wikipedia
 
Mar 2013
1,084
Breakdancing on the Moon.
I'm sure you didn't mean to mix Indo-European and Indo-Aryan, but none of the Tocharians (whatever they called themselves) are Indo-Aryan. They are Indo-European but spoke a language considerably divergent from what would become the Indo-Iranian languages. E.g it's a centum not a satem language, so the PIE velar sounds (kaṇṭhya , Sanskrit grammarians would say) merge and simplify rather than become assibilitated as in Indo-Aryan. PIE *ḱm̥tóm which gives us Latin centum; Greek (he)katon, and; Tocharian A/B kante but Sanskrit satam; Avestan satem etc.

Actually all the Tocharian dialects* do some pretty wild things, so they seem to turn all the PIE voiced stops (Sanskrit grammarians would say ghosa) into unvoiced (again, aghosa). So the word for brother comes out as pracar.

Tocharian is interesting. It is also really weird because it is so divergent ** and so plainly meant to be much, much, more westerly. No idea how they got there. Absolutely not Indo-Aryan. They do get a fair amount of Pali and Hybrid Buddhist loanwords via Buddhism however, but even some of these can be unrecognisable if you don't know the sound changes.


* Actually the relationship between A, B, and C is slightly unclear (at least when I covered it < 10 years ago!). A and B might be closely related dialects or A might be an ossified liturgical language, for example.

** The vowels are a little crazy in terms of phonology, the case system is very much out there in terms of morphology. Due to foreign influence they lost and then re-analysed endings until they had 10...
 
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