Page:Pre-Aryan Tamil Culture.djvu/54

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South Indian women of all castes regard the tāli as the most sacred symbol of marriage, so much so that they will rather die than be without it for a second. But the tying of a tāli is not according to the Arya canon-law or North Indian practice an essential part of the wedding rite. According to the Arya law taking seven steps (saptapati) with the taking of the bride's hand (pāṇigrahaṇam) constitutes the act of marriage and if the bridegroom should die before the saptapati is completed, the woman does not become a widow and is fit for marrying another man. But this is not the belief of the women. What can be inferred from this? Either the first Brāhmaṇas of South India were Tamil men affiliated to the Brāhmaṇa priesthood or, if they were all emigrants from North India, they took unto themselves Tamil women as their wives; women being noted for their conservatism, the Tamil custom of tying a tāli as a symbol of marriage had to be given a premier place in the Brāhmaṇa wedding-rite. It is difficult to believe that, if the first Brāhmaṇa men and women were both foreign emigrants, they borrowed a Tamil custom and made it more important than their Ārya ones. Other important ornaments were strings of gold-thread, pearls, coral, etc., provided with pendants set with gems. They were called kāḻ,[1] tāmam,[2] savi,[3] saraḍu,[4] koḍi,[5] nāṇ,[6] saṅgili,[7] kayil,[8] kaḍai,[9] kōvai,[10] toḍar,[11] kokkuvām.[12] The pendants besides the tāli, were kavaḍi,[13] sarappaḻi,[14] etc. At the waist were also worn strings of gold or silver, kuŗaṅguśeri,[15] kavānaṇi,[16] ṗaṭṭigai,[17] on which were strung little tinkling bells, sadañgai,[18] kiṇkiṇi.[19] Ornaments for the ankles were śilambu,[20] kaḻal,[21] pāḍagam.[22] They were also furnished with tinkling bells. At the wrists and above the elbows were worn vaḷai,[23] literally a circle, kāppu,[24] guard, kanṛu,[25] kurugu,[26] saṅgu,[27] śari,[28] śūḍagam,[29] toḍi,[30] vaṇḍu,[31] vaḷḷi,[32] piḍigam.[33] Several forms of wristlets, bracelets and anklets were given by kings as a reward for feats of strength or skill. The fingers and toes were ornamented with rings, mōdiram,[34] āḻipīli.[35] Women wore a cap of pearls for the mammæ,[36] which were tied by means of a belt, mulaikkachchu[37]. Besides human beings, elephants, horses, bulls and even vehicles were heavily decorated.

Here is a description of a highly-decorated cot. 'They take the tusks of the fiercely-fighting elephant, which have dropped of their own accord, and cut the sides till they are of uniform shape and colour, fix between them leaves carved by the sharp chisels of the skilled carpenter. They place all round panels carved with scenes of lion-hunting and lined with many-coloured hairs of tigers; they decorate it with twigs, jasmin and other flowers; they furnish the cot with windows. Then they hang all around the broad cot, curtains made of pearls strung on thread. They tie tapes woven with coloured lines so as to look like the stripes of a tiger. The ends of the legs of the cot are rounded like bowls which look like the breasts of a pregnant woman; above the bowls, the legs are made to look like roots of

  1. (Symbol missingTamil characters)
  2. தாமம்.
  3. சவி.
  4. சாடு.
  5. கொடி.
  6. சகாண்.
  7. சங்கிலி.
  8. ககயில்.
  9. கடை.
  10. (Symbol missingTamil characters)
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 28
  27. 27
  28. 28
  29. 29
  30. 30
  31. 31
  32. 32
  33. 33
  34. 34
  35. 35
  36. (Symbol missingTamil characters) Tiruvāśagam ix, 10–1.
  37. (Symbol missingTamil characters) Neḍunelvāḍai 136.