Harshacharita (socio-cultural Study)

by Mrs. Nandita Sarmah | 2014 | 67,792 words

This page relates ‘Ornaments (Bhusha)’ of the English study on the Harshacharita: A Sanskrit (poetical work) which can be studied as a Historical book of Indian society during the 7th century. It was originally written by Banabhatta who based his Harsacarita on the life of the Gupta emperor Harshavardhana. This study researches the religion, philosophy, flora and fauna and society of ancient India as reflected in the Harsha-Charita.

14.2. Ornaments (Bhūṣā)

Hāra (necklace): In the 7th century A.D. the male also applied various decorations in various ways like the females. It is found in the brief description of emperor Harṣavardhana that when he was sitting in the royal assembly, his ornaments resembled the lights,[1] and, he also wore the pearl-necklace.[2] The necklace contained various precious gems in it and having pearls around like the āmalakī fruit.[3]

One of a special type of necklaces described by the writer was known as prālambamālikā. As the term suggests, this necklace was from the neck to the chest.[4] prālambamṛjulambi syātkaṇṭhāt.[5] Description of another necklace raktakaṇṭhasūtra[6] which was an indispensable ornament always worn on the neck by all women whose husbands were alive.

Valaya: The male used to adorn the valaya (bracelet) at that time. It was made of different metals. Descriptions are found that svarṇavalaya[7] and lauhavalaya[8] etc were worn by the people.

Bāhūpadhāna: It is found that king Harṣa even wore bāhūpadhāna[9] (i.e., diadem).

Cūḍāmaṇi: It was a popular head-ornament, which was worn for the decoration of the coiffure. Both the king and his feudatories adorned their heads with these types of jewelries.[10]

Hāṭaka: It is a kind of bracelet. Mālatī, the messenger of king Dadhīca, also, wore the gold-bracelet.[11]

Nūpura: It is an anklet or an ornament of the feet[12] used by the ladies. The writer mentions that the swan (haṃsa) always followed the tinkling sound of the anklets of ladies.[13] Devī Sarasvatī wore the nūpura, which are compared to the jingling anklet of the two disciples[14] reciting loudly the padapāṭha and the kramapāṭha.

Descriptions of various types of ear-ornaments are found, such as—

Trikaṇṭaka: Trikaṇṭaka[15] contains three gems. It is seen that it was adorned by the king Dadhīca. Description is found about the trikaṇṭakakarṇābharaṇa[16] which is a three-pointer ear-ornament, made of two big pearls[17] between which was inserted an emerald.

Keyura and kuṇḍala: The writer mentions that the king Harṣa[18] adorned it. The ascetic Bhairvacārya[19] adorned the crystal-earrings.

Bālikā: This is ear-ornament[20] is hanging from the lobe of the ear. Rājyaśrī wore this ear-ring[21] also.

Mālā (garland): People at that time wore the garland on their head[22] with the flowers of Bakula, Mālatī etc. Again, flowers were also used to decorate their hair and ears.[23]

Bāṇa describes one kind of mālā used by the ascetics, and that was known as akṣamālā[24] or rudrākṣamālā.[25] Again, the people also tied portals to decorate their gates with the flower garlands, which were known as vandanamālā.[26]

Siñjāna: The ladies wore this in their waist.[27]

Vrāghranakha: The nails of tiger’s claws[28] were tied round the neck of the children as a type of ornament to ward off the evil eye and evil spirits. The Harṣacrita reveals that it[29] was tied round the neck of child Harṣa.

Other kinds of precious jewels are also mentioned by the writer, which were coated in the crown, in necklace, in bracelet, rings of the kings, princess etc. Such stones were-garuḍamaṇi[30] (i.e., a kind of gem), padmarāga[31] (i.e., ruby), indranīlamaṇi[32] (i.e., sapphires), puṣparāga,[33] candrakānta,[34] marakatamaṇi,[35] (i.e., emeralds), pulaka[36] (i.e., precious stones with various colours). About pulaka the Saṅketa commentary comments as-nānāvarṇavinduvinyāsaḥ pulakabandhaḥ, maṇiviśeṣāśca pulakāḥ.[37] The foresters[38] also used flowers and birds features as ornaments.

It is seen that the people had higher level of aesthetics senses. They used embellish the animals with various golden and silver jewels to festoon them. Such as-maṇḍanaka[39] i.e., ringing ornaments of horses made of gold and silver. The king’s horses and the elephants were decorated with gold and silver ornaments.[40] The author elaborately describes that when the king Grahavarman had came to marry princess Rājyaśrī, he was riding on a female elephant[41] whose head had been decked with a necklace of 27 pearls.

At last, it should be mentioned that the writer Bāṇa recommends that politeness[42] is valued as the true ornament of these who are powerful.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

[a] bhūṣaṇaprabhāsamutsāraṇa…, Ibid.,IV.p.32 [b] ābharaṇaprabhājālajayamānānīndradhanuḥsahasra…, Ibid.

[2]:

hāramuktāphalānāṃ kiraṇanikareṇa prāvṛtavakṣahsthalam, Ibid.,IV.p.33

[3]:

..hārenāmalakīphalanistulamuktāphalena…, Ibid.,I.p.14

[4]:

Ibid.

[5]:

Amarakoṣa,II.7.136

[6]:

.….vidhavāmaraṇacihnamaṅgala…..raktakaṇṭhasūtreṇa….avalambinā…, Harṣacarita,V.p.84

[7]:

Ibid.,p.108

[8]:

Ibid.,III.p.47 Ibid., IV.p.65

[9]:

Ibid., II.p.33

[10]:

nṛpacakracūḍāmaṇidhṛta……..dadhānam, Ibid.,II.p.32

[11]:

…prakoṣṭhanirviṣṭasyaikaisya hāṭakakaṭakasya….., Ibid.,I.p.14

[12]:

Ibid.

[13]:

[a] nūpuravyāhāhūtairbhavanakalahaṃsakulai..…, Ibid.,I.p.5 [b] pradakṣiṇīkriyamānāmiva maṇinūpurabandhubhirbaddhamaṇḍalaṃ bhramadbhirbhavanahaṃsaiḥ, Ibid.,V.p.84

[14]:

śiṣyadvayeneva padakramamukhereṇa nūpurayugalenavācālitacaraṇā, Ibid.,I.p.3

[15]:

[a] trikaṇṭakakarṇābharaṇasya…haritakundapallavakarṇāvatṃsamiva, Ibid.,I.p.9 [b] Ibid.,IV.p.64

[16]:

Ibid.,I.p.9

[17]:

……..sthūlamuktāphalayugalamadhyāsita marakatasya..…….trikaṇṭakakarṇābharaṇasya…….karṇāvataṃsam, Ibid.

[18]:

keyuraraktakiraṇadaṇḍairubhayataḥ prasārita…, Ibid.,I.p.33

[19]:

….sphatikakuṇḍalābhyāṃ…, Ibid.,III.p.47

[20]:

Ibid.,I.p.15

[21]:

snigdhena vālikālokena…karṇāvatṃsām, Ibid.,IV.p.72

[22]:

[a]..…bakula…..muṇḍamālāmaṇḍanamanohareṇa.., Ibid.,I.p.9 [b]..…haritakundapallavakarṇāvatṃsamiva…, Ibid. [c]. …maulimālatīmālikām, Ibid.,I.p.7

[23]:

…karṇāvatṃsakusuma…, Ibid.,I.p.5

[24]:

Ibid.,I.p.3

[25]:

Ibid.,III.p.46,47

[26]:

toraṇatale vandanamālākiśalayasyeva…, Ibid.,VII.p.119

[27]:

siñjānajaghanasthalā, Ibid.,I. p.14

[28]:

hāṭakavaddhavikaṭabrāghranakhapaṅkimaṇḍitagrīvake, Ibid.,IV.p.64

[29]:

Ibid.

[30]:

Ibid.,II.p.27

[31]:

Ibid.,II.p.58

[32]:

Ibid., II.p.27

[33]:

Ibid.

[34]:

Ibid.,I.p.6

[35]:

Ibid., II.p.27

[36]:

Ibid.,I.p.14

[37]:

Ibid., p.56

[38]:

...galatāvaṃsapallavena…, Ibid.,I.p.15

[39]:

Ibid.,p.112

[40]:

[a] …calakarṇacāmarānāṃ cāmīkaramayasarvo- pakaraṇānāṃ …..kariṇāṃ…, Ibid.,IV.p.70 [b] rajatairhiraṇyamayaiśca mandanakabhāndamaṇḍalai…., Ibid.,VII.p.112 [c]...dhvajapaṭapaṭupaṭahaśaṅkhacāmarāṅgarāgaramanīyaiḥ puṣyābhiṣekadivasairiva kalpitairvāraṇendraiḥ ….., Ibid., II.p.26

[41]:

…nakṣatramālāmaṇḍitamukhīṃ kariṇīṃ ……ārūḍaḥ…. pratyāsannalagno grahavarmā, Ibid.,IV.p.71

[42]:

alaṅkāro hi paramārthataḥ prabhavatāṃ praśayātiśayaḥ, Ibid.,VIII.p.129

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