forgotten history on earlobes
Thandatti are heavy, gold earrings that women in southern districts of Tamil Nadu used to wear until recently
The thandatti used to be so heavy and long that it would almost touch the shoulders of the women wearing it
The earrings are geometrical in shape with interlocking squares and rectangles.
A screw attaches it to the earlobe
If shaped like a snake, thandatti is called pampadam or nagavadam. If multiple rings are worn together, it’s called Chavudi
Thandatti was worn with poodi, koppu and onnappathattu on the ear
Anthropologist Sundaravanthiya Thevan says Sangam literature talks about thandatti being worn by women in Pandiya country
Thandatti wearing was a process. The ear was pierced, then the hole grown gradually by adding weights.
By the time of marriage, the girl was ready to wear thandatti
Stretched out earlobes are symbols of Jainism, says R Muthunagu, author. Mahavira is often shown with long earlobes symbolising his universal awareness
In Kallar community, fines were levied if women didn’t grow their ears for thandatti
Later, thandatti distinguished Tamil women from Telugu and Kannada settlers in Madurai region
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