This is a little story about the background of a Punjabi textile that is a few metres long.\nIt is about the culture of Punjab from a century ago.\nIt is a leaf out of an unwritten cultural-history book.\nHere is the object of my awe:\nMade of at about 3-4 metres of soft fine mulmul type of cloth, it is a wrap around skirt to be fastened by the yellow and green handwoven ropes and has dozens of gathers at the waist.\n\nOn the cold winter morning in a small town near the border of India in Punjab, upon seeing such a skirt for the first time, I presumed that the low winter temperatures (combined with no central heating and outdoor tasks) are the reason for layering with a heavily pleated additional garment.\nBut I was wrong.\nThis is actually an \u201coverskirt\u201d to be worn over the Salwar and under the Kurta.\n\nNow in my side of the world in the olden days (and even today in many traditional families) the outlook is to cover up one\u2019s body and do what one can to avoid attracting the vision of others to one\u2019s body.\nThis is one aspect of that model. The other aspects of that thinking are as follows: a) that such display of physical beauty is to be reserved for intimate moments only and is not a matter of public consumption b) that every individual is judged on not just beauty (roop) but also 32 individual \u2018qualities\u2019 or characteristics (gunh) that loosely translate to skills, capabilities and other factors. My guess is that since our visual senses have a great influence to overpower one\u2019s judgement, a way was found to limit this influence that could prove to be counterproductive in the long run.\u00a0So one way to avoid such stumbling is to prevent or at least limit visual display. And so covering up was the norm.\nThe more covered up a woman is, the less distraction there is in the world, and for any man, the sin of coveting another\u2019s wife is rendered improbable if he can see very little of her or her form.\nSo, to ensure that even her form remains undefined, loose clothes were worn. A loose shawl over the shoulders is commonly used in many cultures even today. But this was my first encounter with a loose skirt with a thousand gathers that would cover up the form of the legs that might still be definable within the pants or the salwar.\nAnd that is how this overskirt came to be.\nThe logic of this thinking could be the start of many conversations and many many arguments. Pros & cons are many and protaganists on both sides will have many valid things to say.\nI look forward to engaging in these debates in person!\nBut for now, this is just a note narrating a cultural anecdote of a garment from the past.\n***\nADVISORY: Readers are warned of severe disappointment if they travel to present-day Punjab in search for maidens dressed in such overskirts! Today the style statements of the young ladies of Chandigarh or other cities in Punjab are in line with their counterparts elsewhere.\nThe post The Story of a Skirt from Punjab appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.