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This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.


Shorts have a drawstring waist with an orange band around the waist and legs. The back is decorated with starburst and flower shapes with horseshoe shapes on each side. Front is decorated with horseshoe motif and male figure outlined in white braid inside. Around waist are rows of fine yellow braid, sewn by machine.

History Of Use

The shorts are used during the Chitrai Festival in May (a bathing and processional festival) which is held in honour of Vaishnavite god, Alagar. The main procession in which the shorts (as well as similarly decorated umbrellas, etc.) are worn, moves from the Alagar Koil (temple) to the Vaigai Tiver, running through Madurai City. Here, ritual bathing occurs. The costumes are worn by devotees (usually a particular group patronizing a member who dresses up and becomes the centre of attraction of that part of the procession). The shorts are stitched by a special group of tailors working in a large stone pavilion adjoining the Meenakshe temple (called Pudu Mandapan). These are sold as retail items or made by order.

Cultural Context


Iconographic Meaning

The iconography depicted on the front of each leg of these shorts is that of the images of the god Vishnu's attendants. They are shown here carrying the village knife (aruval) and club (danda).

Item History

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