The History of the Nath


Hi all!


It is the the jewels that are beckoned by women
Not women who are beautified by them:
A women unbejewelled will still enrapture,
But who looks twice at any girl-less gem?

[From Sharangadhara-Paddhati, tr. probably John Brough]


Nose Rings also known as a Nath, has become one of the biggest fashion trends to come about, with its upscaling popularity. 

But has its significance and meaning, become lost and overshadowed by style and trend?


Despite not having a nose piercing myself, i have always found this small piece of ornament fascinating. 

From being part of a significant culture, to evolving as a piece of jewellery worn by both genders and a range of cultures is quite incredible.

But, what is the history of the Nath?
Origin

The Nath most likely originated from the middle east. It was worn by married Muslim women during the time of the Mughal Empire.

From thenceforth it slowly became an ornament of interest within Indian women, who adopted this style during the 15th century and onwards.

However, its earliest sighting can be seen present in Rajput paintings from the 16th century.

Following its gained popularity in India, this small piece of jewellery has captured eyes all over the world. It's now worn by various individuals, within different cultures, backgrounds and also genders.

Womanhood

As a young girl, i became fascinated with the ornament. Watching brides look beautiful and adorned in the Nath made me only more excited for my turn in the future. 

However, i never really understood why married women wore the nath on their wedding day. 

Following some research i found out that the Nath is infact a symbol of marriage and illustrates a women's marital status. Hence why, unmarried and single girls were not allowed to wear a nose ring. 

Once a women was married, it was an item that was part of making the bride even more beautiful. She was to wear the Nath alongside other listed items such as the 'Mangal Sutra' and 'Sindoor' that would exemplify her beauty further.

However, in some parts of india as soon as girls came of age (sixteen), they were to have their nose pierced. This symbolised they had become a women and were also at an age of marriage. 


Religion

According to religious scholars, the Nath has relevance within also the Hindu religion, with goddesses such as 'Mahalaxmi' - The goddess of wealth being adorned in the ornament. 

Furthermore, in order to honour Devi Parvati - The goddess of marriage, brides would wear the Nath on their wedding day. 


What about the present day?

In the 21st century, not many people in fact know the history of such a popular worn ornament and its  beautiful significance.

However, there is one thing that no one can deny...

Nose rings are an enchanting piece of jewellery, holding it's own element of mesmerisation and beauty. It's an inspiring ornament, that really captures the evolution of fashion and beauty, through culture and development.

But does it still hold its strong symbolism and significance?

1 comment

  1. A very interesting piece of writing, I never knew of the origin either! It makes me wonder if there's such a symbolic origin for any other piercings seen today.

    Davis | www.everythingstartswithtea.co.uk

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