Origins and history of saree

History of sari-like drapery is traced back to the Indus
Valley Civilisation, which flourished during 2800–1800
BC around the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent.
Cotton was first cultivated and woven in Indian subcontinent
around 5th millennium BC. Dyes used during this period
are still in use, particularly indigo, lac, red madder and turmeric.
Silk was woven around 2450 BC and 2000 BC. The word ‘sari’ evolved
from ‘sattika’ mentioned in earliest Jain and Buddhist literature
as women’s attire. The Sari or Sattika evolved from a three-piece
ensemble comprising the Antriya, the lower garment; the Uttariya;
a veil worn over the shoulder or the head; and the Stanapatta,
a chestband. This ensemble is mentioned in Sanskrit literature
and Buddhist Pali literature during the 6th century B.C.
This complete three-piece dress was known as Poshak,
generic term for costume.Ancient Antriya closely
resembled dothi wrap in the “fishtail” version which
was passed through legs, covered the legs loosely and
then flowed into a long, decorative pleats at front of the legs.
It further evolved into Bhairnivasani skirt,
today known as ghagri and lehenga. Uttariya was a
shawl-like veil worn over the shoulder or head,
it evolved into what is known today known as dupatta and ghoongat.
Likewise, Stanapatta evolved into choli by 1st century A.D.
Between 2nd century B.C to 1st century A.D, Antariya and Uttariya
was merged to form a single garment known as sari mentioned
in Pali literature, which served the purpose of two garments in one-piece.
The ancient Sanskrit work, Kadambari by Banabhatta and ancient Tamil poetry,
such as the Silappadhikaram, describes women in exquisite drapery or sari.
In ancient India, although women wore saris that bared the midriff,
the Dharmasastra writers stated that women should be dressed such
that the navel would never become visible.
By which for some time the navel exposure became a taboo and the navel was concealed.
In ancient Indian tradition and the Natya Shastra
(an ancient Indian treatise describing ancient dance and costumes),
the navel of the Supreme Being is considered to be the source of
life and creativity, hence the midriff is to be left bare by the sari.

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