In early settlements, bangles were made by rubbing sea shells or stones on hard surface to give shape of bangle. Clay bangles were made by simply giving shape and then drying. As the metal was become a tool to human they used it in wide applications including making bangles. Further exploration gave them more appropriate shape and various designs and including inlay and stones embellishments. Discovery of glass and its ability to melt and cast as per requirement made it popular for ornaments like bangles. It also made bangles cheaper and easier to make thus allowing to worn by many and in large numbers.
Bangles and Saubhagya (completeness of woman):
In this process, personal and social developments were equally challenged and demanding. Just as in animal kingdom a male required to prove his strength by defeating others to mate, in primitive settlements it was a parallel story. In case of humans, it was more challenging as not just strength but intelligence was equally required. This was the inception point where men begun to find resources to attract women. Bangles were made from shiny stones and river shells by rubbing against hard stone surfaces to give shapes and shine. More materials kept adding as it gave opportunity to explore and convert into suitable purpose.
This was probably the closest reason that Bangles became the symbol of ‘the complete woman’ or Saubhagya, having her man who offered bangles with beauty and quantity. These quests led to men explore beauty not just in humans but of the nature which stored so many varieties in colors and appearance. Apart from bangles there were more objects that added in offering. The necessity quickly become tradition and was followed in a manner of basic requirements. It is hard to establish when the institution of marriage came into existence as a social norm that made structure of social laws more linear in order to have harmony and peace within settlement but these traditions existed far before.
In the journey of 5000 years, all further exploration in terms of material used, embellishments, metals and choice of colors altered the original context yet keeping the association of Saubhagya and Bangles intact. Once a hard work of men to win over a life partner now finds out of context as money attained ability to buy everything and anything. While women and particularly those of India are still following the tradition more religiously than men it is becoming mere occasional fashion and display of wealth for most.
Colors and Indian Culture:
Bangles are made in glass surpass the voluminous quantity in all other forms. Hyderabad and Firozabad in India remains the largest producer of traditional bangles. Gold, Silver and Platinum bangles are acquiring more space in Indian as well as western homes due to its nature of investment appreciation and ornamental elegance. Studded with precious stones and delicate designs once only for Royals now becoming part of ordinary women.
Paithani with origin of 5000 years and history of 2000 years is one of the finest examples of incorporating the association of Bangles with Saubhagya. Bangle-Peacock (popularly known as Bangadi-Mor in Marathi language) design in Paithani Saree dates back to 200 B.C when Satvahana rulers converted the region into empire and prominent trade center of the world. (see details at http://www.touchofclass.co.in/)
General association of colors and shapes with individual religion and regions of India and other countries is not discussed here. One can find such discussions on Wikipedia.com/bangles.
In this article, authors have attempted to understand the Bangle and its role in Indian culture with context of history and development of human settlements in 5000 years. Back to Top
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