May 27 2012
Part of what I love about the saree is the fact that it is truly timeless. The women in this painting wear long hair in simple braids, big earrings, fashionable belts around their little waists, just like the Victorian-era Indian beauties from the studio photographs I’ve shown you so often. The sarees come in pretty colours with contrasting cholis – classic green and red, red with blue, buff with pure white; the ladies’ complexions are light, medium and dark. But the era is the 1560s, some 300 years earlier than Victoria’s Raj, when Elizabeth I was England’s queen. She was impressed by the wisdom of Akbar the Great, among other Indian contemporaries.
Below we have three more figures wearing perfect sarees and listening to music, in tan and yellow or sheer dotted white over a very dark blue choli for interest. Note the long, decorative pallus, and nivi-like front pleats on the grey saree. Hair ornaments are now fashionable, with low chignons to the shoulders – it’s the trendy 1590s!