Monday, November 16, 2015

Word of the day: purdah

The word of the day is purdah:
  1. the seclusion of women from the sight of men or strangers, practiced by some Muslims and Hindus.
  2. a screen, curtain, or veil used for this purpose.

"Visitors to Puebla are told that the style was originated by Catarina de San Juan, the pious, vision-filled Mughal slave whom I described in Chapter 8; the patterned skirt, one is solemnly assured, was inspired by her sari.  But Muslim women like Catarina didn't wear saris; purdah was becoming popular, and they wore concealing garments."

 - Charles Mann, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

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