\n\nIt seems to me that all Himalayan cultures have spectacular costumes!\nOne that stands out as distinct and unique is the Dard ethnic group in NorthWest India. Spread over a handful of villages, they number less than 5000 and live close to the Indo-Pak border.\nIn fact some of the Dard villages now fall under Pakistan.\nThe religion that was originally followed dictated several tenets that influenced the lifestyle of this group. Their costumes are made mainly of undyed wool across the entire community. They consider shells very valuable. The reasons for these are probably lost to history as there was no custom of scripting or documentation. And so what we know today has been transmitted through word of mouth from one generation to the next. Transmission that occurs not separately in classrooms or libraries or seminars but during the course of daily life. And verbal transmission is so susceptible to losses and attenuation!\nSo we know very little about the reasons behind these customs.\nDespite the absence of the answers to our \u2018why so\u2019 questions \u2013 the costume culture is a delight and a total visual feast!\nPresenting the magnificent Dard costumes and jewellery:\n\n\n\n\n\u00a0 \n\nHelping each other to dress up\n\n\n\n\n\nNote the typical embroidery on the front and back of the pants. Hand stitched shoes.\n\n\nTHE JEWELLERY\nAn exorbitant amount of jewelry is worn by all Dard women. This reminds me of the custom when Rajas were weighed in gold and precious metal \u2013 I\u2019m speculating that the women were given jewelry equivalent to their own weight!\n\n\nConch shell accessory worn on each shoulder\n\n\n\n\n\nMan\u2019s Ghau\n\n\nHair braid decorated with conch shells and coral beads\n\n\nI have seen noserings connected to earrings and earrings connected to hairpieces and payals connected to toe-rings. But this was the first time that I saw necklaces connected to earrings.\n\nEarrings connected to the necklace\n\nTHE HAT\n\nA Man\u2019s hat \u2013 decorated with needles & flowers \u2013 both essential components of Dard culture.\n\nBraiding Hair \u2013 a family event:\n\n\nAdding false hair for length and volume\n\n\n\n\n\n\u00a0 \nAnd of course no society is complete without our young people \u2013 and as they do in my own home \u2013 the young people here too\u00a0 wear jeans and t-shirts as they move towards convenience!\u00a0 So easy to comprehend their point of view but how then shall we hold on to our wonderful past?\n\nBACK TO KARAKORAM \u2013 DARD DIARIES\nLINK TO LADAKH DIARIES\njm\nOctober 2013\nThe post Costume & Jewelry Culture of the Dard Aryan People, Himalayas appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.