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Costume is a cultural visual, a mirror of the time and the people. The dress of a people presents a vital clue to their mood and taste, their aesthetic temper, their art and skill to adjust to their social and geographical environment, their resilience to various influences, in short, to their way of living. In this book, an attempt has been made to capture the glimpses of our sartorial world through time and space. Indian costumes provides a brief survey of how our people dressed themselves in the past and how they now dress themselves in the different regions of this country. A brief has also been made of styles of coiffures and the use of ornaments, cosmetics and fabrics. A selected glossary added at the end of the book may be found useful. The bewildering range and multiplicity of regional and local dresses with varieties of styles according to different classes and communities make it obviously impossible to include everything in so slight a volume. One is forced to be selective at places without omitting the most representative styles of wear. The material for the book has been collected from many sources-standard books on Indian costumes, District Gazetteers of different States and Village Survey Monographs of Census of India, 1961 and 1971. The illustrations of chapters III and IV are mostly based on Dr. Charles Fabri's line drawings appearing in his book A History of Indian Dress. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the authors of these books and documents. My thanks are also due to Shri R. K. Bose for the illustrations.
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