Belly chain

This article is about the body jewelry. For the restraint for prisoners, see Belly chain (restraint).
The professional wrestler Eve Torres wearing a belly chain.

A belly chain or waist chain are the popular English terms for the Kamarband/Udiyanam, which is a type of body jewelry worn around the waist. Some belly chains attach to a navel piercing; these are also called "pierced belly chains".[1] They are often made of silver or gold. Sometimes a thread is used around the waist instead of a chain. A belly chain is a common adornment for belly dancers.


Use of waist chains can be traced back to 4000 years or more originating in India, as is the case with most jewelry, which are now becoming popular worldwide due to globalisation and the diffusion of Indian culture through diaspora and exposure to Indian media. Historically, waist chains have been used in Eastern countries, specifically India, by men and women, as ornaments and as part of religious ceremonies, as accessories and to show affluence.

Many ancient sculptures and paintings from locations in India, dating back to the Indus Valley civilization, indicate that waist chains were a very popular jewelry. Around the world, an increasing number of women including celebrities are wearing waist ornaments.[2] In Maldives, it was reported that scholars, magistrates and other influential people wore silver chains around their waists before the 1680s. Sayyid Mohammed arrived in Male’ when he heard that Maldives was filled with what he called "forbidden practices." He banned men from wearing waist chains as part of his effort to remove superstition and heresy. Some men complied; in other cases chains were forcibly removed.[3] Many deities in the Hindu religion, such as Lord Krishna, wore waist chains.[4][5][6] A waistband called cummerbund or patka was a part of the medieval upper class costume of Rajasthanis.[7]

A 14th century poetry indicates that the waist chain has been a fashion for men in some parts: "The golden waist chain, and fine skirts, resting upon his rainbow waist, beautifully shining."[8]

Contemporary practice and trends

Belly chains are common among women in India.[9] In some regions waist chains are common among men as well.

Namboothri men generally wear waist strings even as adults. In some aristocratic families, Namboothiri men wore a flattened triple gold string around the waist.[10] As a Hindu custom newborns get a waist chain (Aranjanam) on the 28th day after their birth. In Kerala, a state in India, almost all newborns irrespective of the religious affiliation get a waist chain. Although many boys generally abandon waist chains during their teenage years, a large fraction of the girls and a sizable number of boys continue to wear waist chains as adults. A follower of Lord Siva is expected to wear a chain, with Rudrakshas strung in a white chain with one hundred beads, around the waist.[11] In Lakshdweep a silver thread is worn by both men and women.[12] Dhodia and Kathodis are Katkari men use ornaments around the waist.[13][14][15]

For cultural reasons, waist chains became a fashion accessory for women and men in many parts of the world.[16]

Medical application

A U.S. Patent was issued for using waist chain as a continuous monitoring device to facilitate weight loss,[17] some of which are available in the market.[18]

See also


  1. "Guide to Belly Chains". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  4. "Vedic Approach to Vaiṣhṇava Āḻvārs". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-24. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  7. "Traditional clothing/jewelry of Rajas... - Rajasthan -". 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  8. "Avaiyar's Vinayagar Agaval". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  9. "Art-manufactures of India: Specially Compiled for the Glasgow International ...". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  10. Namboothiri Websites Calicut (2001-08-16). "Namboothiri Ornaments". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  11. "Island Ecology and Cultural Perceptions". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  12. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  13. "Ancient India, Gupta Empire for Kids and Teachers - Ancient India for Kids". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  15. "The Gazetteers Department". Solapur. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  16. "Waist chain and related method - Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  17. "Weight Loss Tips: Belly Band May Help You Lose Weight Video". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
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External links

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