99 BC - 1599

Ornamentation: Waist Bands Seen in Temple Art

American Institute of Indian Studies

The history of Indian waist band is certainly long and enduring. The patka or kamarband was considered high and one of the finest and sumptuous embellishment through out the Indian history.

The ornamental waist bands worn by both male and female are called Kamarband while the fabric ones are referred to as Patka. Used as waist belts, Kamarband is still a popular ornament for women.

Waist bands adore bodies of both male and females statues as well as that of children. It is most commonly used form of ornamentation in Indian classical aesthetics.

Across different architectural styles, Kamarband remains an essential part of basic ornamentation for Divinity, human and Demons.

A female figure on the extreme left depicted on the southern stairway of Rani Vav as taking off her lower garment along with her waist band.

Street view of Rani ki Vav (bawli)/ Queens Well at Patan in Gujarat that has the relief showing women taking off her clothes with Kamarnband before bathing.

These waist belts are carved as simple belt like design to highly detailed designs. This austere stone relief is donning a simple 5 tier belt like kamarband with a rectangular buckle in centre.

This relief of Mahisasuramardini from Bhimeshwara temple is decorated with multi layered beaded belt like kamarband with a floral design as the central piece.

Yakshi in stone shows her wearing a beaded kamarband. To maintain the shape of the kamarband, small round beads and joined with longer beads to hold the shape of the waist belt.

It has always been strongly associated with Indian classical dance forms such as Odishi, Bharatnatyam and Kathak.Apsara are the celestial dancers represented wearing highly delicate waist bands.

This is an apsara figure with delicate kamarband. Generally the belt part of the kamarband is multi-tier to which loops and frills are attached depending on the nature of the represented figure.

Dancing figures are shown with most elaborate and complex style of waistbands. River Goddess Ganga depicted as celestial nati (dancer) at Vidarbha Temple in Andhra Pradesh with elaborate waist band.

River Goddess Ganga as celestial nati (dancer) with elaborate waist band

The Dancing figures of Mohini depicted with most elaborate and intricately designed waist bands. At times the frills are dangling till the knees.

A closer look at the highly delicate and elaborate Kamarband comprising of multi-tier belt, beaded frills and loops by Mohini.

Kamarband continues to adore women and children in Indidan cultures and remains an essential element of Indian classical dance and performance tradition till today.

American Institute of Indian Studies
Credits: Story

Image source: American Institute of Indian Studies
Street View: Courtesy Archaeological Survey of India
Curator : Meenakshi J.

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