Called ankle chain also ankle bracelet is an ornament used as jewel on the ankle of a woman. Anklets and rings of foot are used for centuries by women and girls in India, often with bare feet.
But Hindu women are far from being the only ones to find this interesting to wear: women in Egypt were routinely wearing them also since pre-dynastic Egyptian. The string of silver ankle was the most commonly used.
In the West, specifically in the United States, the mode of the ankle chain arrived in the twentieth century. Initially this gem was reserved for the working classes who preferred instead the leather strap. Men and women could wear this type of ankle bracelet leather, especially with bare feet.
Today anklets are worn as a gem and many women like them. In India, ankle chain is even a very important piece at a wedding and this gem always accompanies the Hindu traditional dress, the sari.
Asia tradition enabled women to wear an ankle chain with another wider channel linking the two dowels. The purpose of this practice was the illusion to give the wife a prettier approach and limit the steps. This practice took place in Southeast Asia where people were looking for a more feminine touch!
Several jewels like the ankle chain, arm band or DIAdem were used in Palestine at the time of Christ and the Bible testifies. On a map of today can be situated around the city of Gaza Palestine.
Today some women continue to wear this type of string but never in public. In the West this practice is rather reserved for a method of punishment, for example for prisoners in the United States.
The string of ankle in Egypt
The string of ankle has been used as a daily ornament, a jewel to wear every day by Egyptian women, from all social classes, since the Egyptian predynastic period up to our days.
Ankle chain received the name of “Menefret” in Egypt, identical to that of the bracelets. To differentiate these two jewels of the Egyptians added a prefix to the word to indicate the connection of the jewel at the feet.
Anklets were used more than a jewel, as a symbol of status, social status and wealth. Wealthy Egyptian women woredecorated with precious stones and expensive metalchannels (menefret), while the popular class was decorating them with amulets and small “charms” in bones or stones not valuable.
Anklets were made in several types of metal and of different sizes and shapes. The most rare and expensive metals were intended for the upper class, including the gold and the silver, and the popular class wore among other chains of iron or copper.
During the fourth, fifth and sixth dynasty, ankle chains change their appearance and are then made with beads. The beads are strung in several bands to create pretty channels to the typical appearance.
Egypt anklets have been used also by the dancers, and some have been found in the tombs of Kagemni, Ti and Akh-Hotp.
In the early twentieth century anklets were still very common in Egypt. At that time these jewels were called “kholkhal” and many women in Alexandria including wear on a daily basis. Kholkhal chain was often at the same time that the dress traditional classical: Melaya Leff. The dress was covered with a black cloth in one piece.
Egyptian women wear more ankle in public nowadays as religion in the country is wearing a chain ankle disrespectful and exuberant. Only the dancers continue to wear during their balls.
The string of ankle in Europe
Anklets have long been the preserve of women living in a temperate climate in Europe. These areas include cities around the Danube, in the region of the front country of the Alps up to the Rhine and the Rhône. These ankle chains were laid during the Bronze age and they were made in the same metal.
String old ankle archaeological bronze Age important including the city of Aliseda in Spain, have enabled to recover jewelry, tools and other objects, all made in bronze. These items are charged to the tumulus culture that has spread in this region (about 1600 – 1200 BC).
The chain of anchor in South Asia and India
In Asia there is a book called Silappatikaram which dates from the first century of literature in Tamil. In this book we’re talking particularly about the ankle chain and the novel tells a story on this topic and includes detailed descriptions of this gem.
The heroine of the novel called Kannagi is an exemplary wife. Kannagi forgave her husband his infidelity with a courtesan who stole all the money from the couple. Then she offered his ankle chain her husband so he can sell it and get some money. The husband is trying to sell the ankle chain to the Goldsmith of the King, who, having stolen the Queen’s ankle chain, gave her the responsibility this flight Cap.
Rajasthani (Hindu) women used the type of heavy ankle chain which existed, still entirely in silver. This ankle chain advocated membership in a tribe. Beyond a piece of jewelry or vanity, it was for these women a way to demonstrate their courage in their own tribe or to compete with the tribes in their region.
Today in India, wearing this type of very heavy ankle chain is less and less in the big cities, but the tradition continues in the rural areas of the country.
The word ‘jhangheer’ designated the word string of ankle in hindi and punjabi. Jhangheer literally means chain. These channels are very important in Hindu Weddings and they must be worn by married women. Widowed women no longer wear their chain of marriage. Some of these channels are so heavy that women have trouble walking.
Indian anklets are bearers of a true beauty, we find treasures, and they have a strong cultural significance.
The string of ankle in Mesopotamia
When you study the history of the ankle chain, it is possible to find traces of this gem until the time of the Sumerians, around the year 2000 A.J. Even if never found the oldest jewelry pendant Venus of Fels cave of prehistoric times.
Sumerian culture is one of the most ancient civilizations that existed, and the women in this group were using massive and gold silver jewelry to indicate and give an overview of the wealth of their husband.
The Sumerians lived in the region of Mesopotamia approximately 4500 years ago. The graves found on land belonging to the Sumerians helped establish that this culture already used the use of jewelry. The Sumerians have left a large amount of bracelets, and among these, there are anklets. The graves also revealed that the Sumerians were rings of hand and foot, and necklaces.
The ancient civilization of Mesopotamia, located along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers practiced the craft and creating fine jewellery in abundance. Men and women were wearing heavy jewelry during the era of the civilization of Babylon: the people has adorned the body of ethnic jewelry such as anklets, arm bracelets, necklaces and neck chains. Stones like jade, agate or the lapis lazuli were widely used to decorate.
The string of ankle in Persia
The Silk Road helped to fashion and jewelry of this era of spread in these commercial areas. Jewelry, today called on jewelers, dealers bought the former Persian empire of the bracelets and anklets. The road owned by the Persians would of Susa, North of Persia (today the Iran) to the Mediterranean (today Turkey).
The archaeological site known as the Golden Mound kept more than 20,000 pieces of Persian jewelry. Most of these jewels were decorated with semiprecious stones like amethyst and the lapis lazuli. These beautiful finds are the jewels of the end of the second millennium to the seventh century. These parts include ankle chains, often decorated with animals like the IBEX (species of Mediterranean wild goat) with a big horns chores.
These archaeological ruins Persians allowed to understand that women wore anklets as a decorative jewel around the years 2000 A.J.C. Ankle chains adorned with Ibex originate from the year 700 BC
All these pieces of jewelry Persians have been discovered in the tombs: pin, bracelet, earrings, chains, belts, pendants and rings. Utensils and artifacts were sometimes decorated with jewels set with stones from distant lands (Amber from the Baltic, ivory from Africa, pearls of Arab lands, etc.).
The string of ankle in modern times
The women of modern times wear ankle year-round stations, regardless of any social status, whether single or married. Even if in some cultures the ankle chain remains a statutory gem, as in India, the ankle bracelet can be worn like any other jewel.
Ankle chain, left or right?
In India and Nepal of our days, anklets are on both ankles left or right. It would seem that outside of these countries, the chain is rather on the right ankle, and we think that it is all simply because most of the women are right-handed.
Most of the time the ankle chain is a simple chain in gold or silver, with charms of any shape or symbol (animal, heart, stone). The hippie era of the 60s fashion was to wear bracelets leather around the ankle, with or without beads and small stones, but still without any real sexual connotation.
In conclusion, there is no precise rule on the port of the ankle chain, it can be worn today on the left or right side, every day of the year.