Cosmetics, Costumes and Ornaments in Ancient India

by Remadevi. O. | 2009 | 54,177 words

This page relates ‘Upper Garments (n): Breast Cloth’ of the study on cosmetics, costumes and ornaments of ancient India based on Sanskrit sources. Chapter one deals with cosmetics and methods of enhancing beauty; Chapter two deals with costumes, garments and dresses; Chapter three deals with ornaments for humans and animals. Each chapter deals with their respective materials, types, preparation and trade, as prevalent in ancient Indian society.

2.1. Upper Garments (n): Breast Cloth

Breast cloth was an unstitched piece of cloth worn by women as a covering for their breasts. It was usually tied in knots in between the breasts or on shoulders. A breast cloth was known by the names Stanāṃśuka, Stanapaṭṭa, Payodharāṃśuka, Payodharapaṭṭa, Stanottarīya, Nitambavastra etc. Of these Stanāṃśuka is the most familiar. In addition to the above mentioned words, Rājaśekhara has used the term Kañculika in the sense of a breast cloth. In Viddhasālabhañjikā it is said that a Kañculika is worn first and above it a Kañcuka is worn. This gives indications to the difference between a Kañcuka and Kañculika[1]. Even though breast clothes were usually sleeveless, Kalhaṇa alludes to a half sleeved breast cloth also[2]. A newly married woman usually wore a red breast cloth. In Ṛtusaṃhāra, Kālidāsa has referred to it[3].

Footnotes and references:


Act. IV


Rājataraṅgiṇi, VIII.vv.925-930



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