A Zardu (zahr-doo) or more often called a Zardu Belt is a common garment worn by female Zevestivan around their waist.
Zardu has several possible meanings. It could come from the elder word Zardau meaning "to Bind" or "Bind into." This is commonly believed to be the origin of the word based on the nature of the garment. It could also refer to the word Zayrdu meaning "Thick," or possible the combination of the words Zay and Radu meaning "To Cover Well."
Zardu belts typically are made of leathers from various animals native to the Zevestivan homeworld. These leathers are beaten to a liquid pulp and mixed with glues, adhesives, and colored dyes before being poured into a mold. They are then heated and cooled. The result is a very thick and rubbery substance that clings to form but does not constrict.
Colors and styles of Zardu has changed largely over time. They are usually green or red and trimmed with gold and other colors. Proportions of the wearer's pelvis and waist are usually measured before molding the garment. Most Zardu cover most of the frontal pelvis and extend just above the navel region. Despite the thickness of the garment they are designed to fit to the form of the wearer and do not tighten or constrict the body. Modern styles usually have thicker trimming with straps along the front, while more classical and ancient styles were solid and strapless and had a uniform thickness.
Use in Zevestivan SocietyEdit
Zardu belts are very commonly worn by many female Zevestivan to display social standing or ranks in military organizations. Civilian varieties come in a large range of styles and patterns, though religious and military designs have largely remained the same for much of recorded history. Color, trimming, and patterns all indicate various aspects about the wearer.
Types of Zardu Belts Edit
- Erik [ur-eek] Zardu, also known as a "Pure Belt" or "Clean Belt" are worn by Zevestiven females who are unmarried or considered virgins. They are used to signal to others that they are not married and are open to courtship. They are characterized by their solid green color.
- Nak [nahk] Zardu are worn by Zevestivan females who are married and have at least attemtped to have children. They are used to signal that they are married and unavailable for courtship. More casual versions are a solid dark red, while those worn by religious leaders have gold trimming.
- Mutak [muh-tahk] Zardu are a variety of belts usually worn exclusively by military figures. Zardu worn by recruits and those of low rank are usually solid grey. Captains and other low ranking command officers and soldiers wear grey Zardu with dark or bright red trimming. High ranking command officers wear grey Zardu with golden trimming. Fleet commanders and generals often wear grey Zardu with both gold and bright red trimming.
- Uza [uh-zuh] Zardu are worn by Zevestivan woman who are engaged to be married. Regardless of profession or involvement with religion and military, this style of Zardu supersedes others and is always worn under the condition of engagement. They are solid gold in color.
- Sumshak [suhm-shahk] Zardu, are a very casual variety of the garment and are usually worn by the lower or working class who cannot afford to own more expensive variations. Since many of the adhesives used in the process of making a Zardu might be too costly to the lower class, these varieties are often made with poorer quality substitutes and are notably more constricting and uncomfortable. Some religious figures adopt wearing a Sumshak as a sign of humility or humbleness. Sumshak Zardu can come in many colors depending on the owner, but they are usually colored brown since dyes can be costly.
There are several instances in Zevestivan history where thick belts were used to determine the status of woman in their society. The first instance in literature was in the Script of Kazada, where Queen Makzalech wore a solid grey Zardu to signal to everyone her royalty. Several generations of her daughters continued this practice until it seemed to lose popularity and was abandoned.
A later instance of the Zardu becoming popular with culture was noted in the Scipt of Fokayrik. The script details a great famine that had fallen upon the Zevestivan and how the young maiden by the name of Fokayrik made a very thick belt that she could use to mask her starvation. Every day she would tighten the belt more to distract her from her hunger. Eventually everyone in her village followed her example and after the famine had passed the wearing of the belt was popular for some time. Since there is a large gap of history between this rising trend and the next mention of a Zardu, it is usually assumed they fell out of style for several centuries.
Most Zevestivan historians trace the current trend of wearing Zardu back to the religious figure Erikah Zabeth, who is classically known for wearing a simple green belt around her waist at all times. Eventually the green belt came to symbolize purity and virginity some time after her death, from which the trend of imitation continued to this day. Eventually other religious figures designed their own styles to symbolize various things before being adopted by Zevestivan culture.