(Last Updated on : 10/12/2013)
The kurti is an upper garment worn with a kanchli. Kurti is not seen in ancient paintings or sculptures and seems to be a modern trend, perhaps, not more than 200 years old.
In the earliest paintings, for example, of the Banni-Thanni of Kishangarh, only the kanchli attire was seen. It was possibly under the increasing power and influence of Mughal rulers that it came lo be considered immodest to reveal so much of the upper part of the body of women started wearing a kurti. However, in the passage of time the angia or kanchli is still preferred for regular use. In Rajasthan, only married women are required by tradition to wear a kurti. Amongst the Rajput, a widowed woman rarely wears the kurti.
The kurti is usually a sleeveless garment with a deep, horseshoe shaped neckline. Since the neck is expanded, most of the kanchli worn underneath is clearly exposed. Bias binding is sewn around the armhole, neckline, side plackets and hem, enclosing the raw edges and adding colour. Variations in the construction of the kurti exist among different communities. For instance, the kurti worn by Bishnoi women has the slitted side and a deep neckline that reveals almost all of the kanchli. The kurti has its front open, much like a jacket, where the left side has an extension for an overlap over the right part. Piping is added at the edges with a string holding the overlap at the side seam and the front is fastened with buttons and loops. On the other hand, the Rajput kurti has no centre-front opening and is easily slipped over the head.
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