Mughal Period Costume Essay

Mughal Period Costume

The Mughal period refers to the reign of the Timurid Dynasty on the Sub-continental Indian Empire. the Mughal empire came to from Mongol, Persian and Rajput ascendency, and it is strongly characterized by the mixing of Persian and Indian traditions.

Mughal clothing is characterized for luxurious styles made from silk, velvet, muslin and brocade, elaborate patterns made with dyes, beads and fine metal threads; the outfit was complemented by wearing jewelry and accessories from head to toe. Multiple pieces conformed the garment, usually long flowing skirts and pants, shirts and elegant coats over them.

Up until today, Mughal fashion influences traditional and modern fashion from India and Pakistan, specially on Lenghas, Cholis and Peshwaz.

Mughal opulence and taste for fashion was such, that most outfits were worn for short periods of time and then given away or the Mughal nobleman or noblewoman would require multiple changes of clothing during the day.

Assembly and Construction

Garments on the Mughal period were sewn compromising multiple pieces to form a tight and elegant fit on the wearers body, the most common sewn attachments were the sleeves, waist, torso sides and over the shoulders.

Some accessories like the Patka, were tied around to form belts on the waist to complement the figure or to serve a practical purpose like carrying a sword scabbard, buttons were rare but non existent so coats and open garments were often held by other fabrics or jeweled pins.

Floor length and flowing garments were usually wore by women, the outfits consisted on multiple parts like pants and vests covered with flowing overskirts or coats made with translucent fabric to give the effect of air and water.

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Men wore more rigid attires, skirts reached the knee, rigid jackets and vests usually adorned with patterns and jewelry, some men wearing translucent fabrics were depicted on paintings, but usually in the bottom of the garment over pants, and never longer than mid shin in height.

Mughal Clothing for Men

Jama: Also known as the Yaktahi Jama worn long or short over pai-jama. Jama originated in Persia, it means a robe, gown or coat. Jama is unlined and is a cross over tunic. It is a fitted bodice with with fasteners at side seam and flared skirt.

Chogha: In Mughal Era the chogha refers to a long sleeve coat, open down the front. Chogha were heavily influenced by Persian and Mongolian designs and embroidery. These were often very ornate.

Doshala And Shawl: Very similar to the palla in sense of draping and protection, doshala or shawls were double sided and long for ease to drape around the body.

Patka: Mughal rulers as a part of their daily costumes wore a sword around their waist. This waist was held on to the body by a long piece of fabric tied like a sach. Patkas were hand painted or printed and had intricate embroidery all over.

Dhoti, Shalwar and Pai jama: Pai jamas were worn by both men and women under the jama. Dhoti was wide legged draped pants. Shalwar were also wide leg pants but were sewn instead of draped.

Peshwaz: Long sleeved and high waisted jama like coat with fasteners at centre front. For a layered look many a times sheer muslin peshwaz were worn. Women also wore pershwaz but with a blouse underneath.

Yalek: Short sleeves or sleeves under tunic, usually floor length.

Churidar: Another form of paijama, a fitted pants with noticeable volume at the ankles. Another article of clothing worn both by men and women. Constructed on bias for fit and natural stretch.

Mughal Clothing for Women

Women in Mughal court or common people both shared certain articles of clothing from men such as the yalek, churidar, peshwaz, jama, turbans. Other than that there were also few that were only worn by women.

Dhilja, Gharara: Dhilja was made out of silk and was wide leg pants. Gharara were also wide leg pants but had gathers at the knee.

Choli or blouse: Women also wore short upto the waist length blouse. These were often heavily embroidered.

Lehenga: Wide, floor length skirt. Usually held together with fastener at the waist and huge volume below the hip to floor length. Lehengas were hand embroidered and decorated with jewels. The amount of fabric and embellishment made the lehenga very heavy.

Dupatta: Women were expected to cover their head as a sign of modesty in Mughal Era, the dupatta also known as a veil very made from sheer fabric and very hand embroidered.

Mughal Accessories

In 16th century India, during the the mughal period; the royals were connoisseurs of the arts, from textiles, jewellery,painting, architecture etc. During this Period, the art of jewelry making flourished, it was given utmost importance. This resulted in unique jewellery pieces worn all over their bodies from their head to toes. They were made with or from precious stones, gems,and Minerals. The Timurids the Mughals ancestors were fond of engraving their names and titles on precious stones such as diamond, rubies and emeralds. Jewellery was worn by both the royals and people of influence; these gems were used as talisman as well. It was a way to show their dignity, status, position,and religion. The jewellery during this period were heavily influenced by the mughal Turko-Mongol,Persian ancestry and also Rajput styles, due to their alliances with the rajput royal family through marriage. There were two major styles used during the Akbar rule, which were the Polki and Kundan jewellery styles. Polki stones were clear uncut diamonds that had a matte finish, whilst kundan was a northern indian style of setting gems into gold. Women and men both adorned themselves in very opulent jewelry such as earrings and nose rings, necklaces, brooch, waist belts, anklets, etc. Mughal jewellery had a revival in 2008, this was due to the release of the movie Jodhaa Akbar, which was based on the love story of King Akbar and Rajput princess Jodhaa-Bai. Due to the movie, mughal inspired jewelry and clothing gained popularity. These styles are still popular till today.

Types of Accessories

Nose Ring: Nose rings were worn by women, these varied in size from small studs to large hoops. These were bejewelled with pearls, beads, gems.

Earrings: Men and courtiers of the Mughal empire wore ear studs made with gemstones, whilst the empress and women of high standing wore long enameled gold earrings, bedazzled with precious stones, beads etc.

Necklace: The mughal royals wore various necklaces, ranging from enamelled pendants, long necklaces, choker style necklaces . All the necklaces were made with luxurious materials, pearls, emerald, precious beads.

Head Wear

Pagri or Turban: In Mughal Era, the turban were a sign of dignity and class. Based on social standing, mughals tied their turbans along with bejeweled bands, brooches and other ornaments. Women wore various types of hair accessories such as a binduli, sekar, jhumar etc.

Cap: Mughals wore heavily jeweled caps in a variety of styles. The chau-goshia, Dupalli, Quebbedar, kashi nti numa, nukka dar, Mandil. These caps were in various shapes, and sizes. These were worn by both male and females of influence and wealth.

Footwear: Mughal wore the Jhuti which were Persian style shoes with turned up toes were worn both men and women. These were also bejeweled.

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Mughal Period Costume Essay. (2019, Dec 19). Retrieved from

Mughal Period Costume Essay
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