Nepalese Ethnic Costumes & Ornaments

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Item Code: NAO801
Author: Dr. Poonam Rajya Laxmi Rana
Publisher: Nepal Heritage Society,Nepal
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9789937022361
Pages: 206 (Throughout Color & B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 10.0 inch X 7.0 inch
Weight 720 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
About The Book

It is a pleasure to see one’s student progress. This book is a continuation of her Phd these she wrote ‘An Analystical study of Costumes and Ornaments in Nepalese Art from 3rd Centuary B.C to 12th century A.D’. as she had collected her data til the 19th century; it was easy for her to publish this book. This book on ‘Nepelese Ethnic Costumes And Ornaments’ is interesting. It throws light about the different regions and the costumes and ornaments worm by the people of Nepal. Though the Writer has not been able to publish about the ethnic groups due to lack of budget and time; yet we hope that she continues with her endeavours and will bring out more books.

Nepal is the home of numerous ethnic communities having their own belief, ideologies, customs, and religion. This fact can be seen in their cultural diversity.

Man as member of the society creates culture. The first stone axe to the present day machine-guns, discovery of fire to present day micro-wave all are part of culture. Our daily livehood is culture. What we write and study about is termed as the ‘Culture Construct’

Nepal on the regional basis can be categorized into:

i. Himalayan Region

ii. Mountain (Hill Region)

iii. Terai Region

Based on the geographical, climate and, ecological division people dwelling in different regions have developed their own costumes and ornaments. This study is extremely interesting; the collected data tells us about interesting features of the costumes and ornamentsof different ethnix communites of Nepal. It is also indicates that times are changing with the inflow of tourism and modernisations, the ideology regarding traditional dresses has changed and people are becoming more modern. This may result in the loss of one’s identity in to come.

The limitation of this research study is that due to lack of time and budget, I have not been able to include all the ethnic groups of Nepal.

When one Secutinizes these ethnic communities one can also see the similarities with the costumes and ornaments belonging to the Indus valley civilization and the book also observes the changes that are taking place. It also brings to limelight the symbolic value of costumes and ornaments in the Nepali Society.

The reality what exists today will definitely change and new features will come into existence. Apparel and ornaments also pass through the same process of changes. There are numerous factors that led to such changes such as time, modernization, inflow of tourists, mass-media, and inflation, global-warming and most important of all the change in the attitude of the ethnic groups, themselves.

As gold and silver ornaments are very expensive these days light ornaments have replaced the original heavy ones. As a result the original ethnic costumes and ornaments will vanish with time. Therefore it is necessary to collect the data related to such matter prior to its dissppearance.


About the Author

Dr. Poonam Rajya Laxmi Rana is an Associate Professer in the Central Department of Nepelese History Culture & Archaeology, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal.

She holds a Doctarate Degree in Nepalese History Culture & Archaelogy on Febuary 24th 2014. Her topic of study was "An Analytical study of Costumes and Ornaments in Nepalese Art from 3rd centuary B.C to 12th centuary A.D".

She also holds a Masters Degree in Enviroment & Ecology from lodhi Road, Delhi and holds Masters in Sociology with a gold medal 'Vidhya Bhusan Padak".

The reasercher is also a graduate in Fine Arts and has conducted Solo Exhibition twice & continues to participate in various art exhibitions held by Nafa & other organizations and has won many medals.

In the year 2016, October 28, on the invitation of Sichuan University, Chengdu, China she left for China as a 'Visiting Scholar'.



Nepal is the home of numerous ethnic communities Scholars point to Scynthians as the ancestors of the Kash Dynasty Of western Nepal. The Scythians, Bacterian’s, Samarians, Assyrians and many other ancient western and Central Asian people could have brought the Jewellary tradition to Nepal. In this ‘jewellary trans-migration’ context it perhaps reached Nepal (Gabriel Hannelore, Jewellary of Nepal, London,; Thames Hudson, 1999 A.D,.p.29.) This is an accepted view.

Gabriel Hannelore visited Nepal some two decades ago. He has mentioned that the ancient traditional jewellery are slowly disappearing. An old women recalls “When I got married I received a heavy gold jeweller, big earrings, a huge necklace, silver bangles and anklets When my son was small he ripped my ears lobs twice, when he pulled my ‘Cheptesyn’, I had to stitch my earlobes. The ‘Tilahari’ use to be very big. But now days the size has decreased.

It can be noted that the second half of the 20th century saw a spectacular change in the designs of costumes and ornaments, as well as wearing habits wents a change. Now days whatever jewellery they possess are all safely stored away in the bank lockers or at home most of the time. These precious ornaments are worn only on special occasion.




Foreword i
Auther's Note ii
Introduction 1-7
Chapter 1  
The Hill People 8-48
People and Background 10-14
Costume and Types 15-17
Headgears and Hairstyles 18
Ornaements and Types 18-35
Textiles and Dyes 35
Style/ Illustrations 43-48
Chapter 2  
The Himalayan People 49-66
People and Background 51
Costume and Types 52
Headgears and Hairstyles 53
Ornaements and Types 54-60
Textiles and Dyes 61
Style/ Illustrations 62-66
Chapter 3  
The Terai People 67-93
People and Background 69
Costume and Types 70
Headgears and Hairstyles 72
Ornaements and Types 73-81
Textiles and Dyes 82
Style/ Illustrations 82-93
Chapter 4  
The Newars 94-119
People and Background 95
Costume and Types 95-100
Headgears and Hairstyles 101-103
Ornaements and Types 104-115
The Living Goddess Kumari 116-119
Conclusion 120
Chapter 5  
The Sermans 121-141
Who is a Sharman or Jhakri Or Dhami 122
How do they become a Shaman 123
True research based Case -Studies 123-125
Diverse influencein Shamanic practies and the major functions of Shamans 126
Shamans and their Beliefs 127
How do Shamens heal and the materials they use 129-132
Different Shamans and their attire 133-141
Conclusion 141
Chapter 6  
The Nomands of Nepal, The Rahutes, (The Jungle King) 142
Introduction 143
Population structure & Language 143
Dress & Ornaments 144
Food Habits 144
Nomadic Kings Of Nepal 146
(Photo feature denoting their livehood)  
Their wandering ways 148
Early photos of Nomadic Wanferers 149
Children of Nomandic kings 150
Rahute women their livelihoods & ornaments 151
Early pictures of Rahute Women 152
Conclusion 155
Photos Features of ethnic costumes & ornaments, past & Present 156- 188
End Notes 189
Biblography 190
Glossary 190-197
About the Author 197
Sample Pages

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