Vintage Beaded Hat, Afghanistan, Kuchi Helmet
Afghan Tribal Arts has been importing from Afghanistan and the region since the 1980’s. The focus is on vintage textiles and tribal jewelry as well as new gemstone beads made for jewelry designers. Clicking on the Shop on Etsy button will take you to our shop there where you can see what is currently in stock.
Vintage Beaded Hat, Kuchi Helmet
A very cool beaded hat from one of the tribal groups in Afghanistan, probably Kuchi. The glass seed beads are sewn on to fabric in a circular manner. The cap would be worn on the top of the hat and then a turban would be wrapped around the base and on to the head. Only the tip of the hat would show. But, as it is so thick and solid, it would serve almost as a helmet. The beadwork also identifies the wearer as different villages would have their own styles. The lining shows wear, but the hat is solid, in good shape. Wonderful piece!
Dimensions: 6.5″ (16.5 cm) Diameter at base, 5.25″ (13 cm) high, 3.25″ (8 cm)
Diameter at top Estimated age: 1930’s
A little background on the Kuchi from Wikipedia:
Kuchis (from the Persian word Koch meaning “migration”), are Pashtun nomads, primarily from the Ghilzai, Kakar, Lodi, Ahmadzai as well as some Durrani tribes, but occasionally there may also be some Baloch people among them. There are three million Kuchis in Afghanistan, with at least 60% remaining fully nomadic, and over 100,000 have been displaced due to natural disasters such as flood and drought in the past few years.
The nomads and semi-nomads, generally called Kuchi in Afghanistan, mostly keep sheep and goats. The produce of the animals (meat, dairy products, hair and wool) is exchanged or sold in order to purchase grain, vegetables, fruit and other products of settled life. In this way an extensive network of exchange has developed along the main routes annually followed by the nomads. The merchant Powindah (Ghalji) [or Ghalzai] Pashtuns used to move annually from the Afghanistan mountains to the valley of the Indus and hence deep into India.
These long-distance migrations were stopped in the early 1960s when the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan were closed. In recent decades, migrations inside Afghanistan continue, although trucks are now often being used to livestock and family from one place to another.
The Kuchis have been identified by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan as one of the largest vulnerable populations in the country. As Afghanistan’s population grows, competing claims over summer pastures, both for rainfed cultivation and for grazing of the settled communities’ livestock, have created conflict over land across central and northern Afghanistan. Paying head-count fees for each animal crossing someone else’s property is exacting a harsh economic toll on the Kuchi way of life, one that is already having to contend with recurrent droughts that are now occurring with increasing frequency.
Materials Used: glass seed beads, fabric, thread
Afghanistan has been at the heart of the crossroads for the Silk Road for centuries. Nomads and generations of ethnic groups have thrived on trade and beautiful handicraft skills. Textiles, embroidery and carpet weaving continue to represent a plethora of skills that extend on into metal work, wood work, and ceramics. Designs reflect both the beauty of nature and life of spirit in choice of colors and fluidity of the design. Recommended reading: “Traditional Textiles of Central Asia” by Janet Harvey, a wonderful illustrated book on textiles from Afghanistan and the region.
Afghan Tribal Arts has been working with Afghan artists for more than 20 years. Handcarved semi-precious beads are the core focus of the business, but we also have a huge inventory of old and new textiles, carvings and metal work. Abdul Wardak, owner, travels a bead show route between Wisconsin and Florida. Wholesale inquiries are welcome.
Visit our shop on Etsy and check our shop here on Artizan Made as we will have different items in both shops. We combine shipping on purchases between both shops. Free shipping on all purchases over $100 in the US.
We are proud members of TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List.
Afghan Tribal Arts
Abdul Wardak of Afghan Tribal Arts Abdul Wardak has been importing from Afghanistan and the region since the early 1980's. Beads carved from semi-precious stones are the core of the business, but Afghan Tribal Arts also has an extensive collection of tribal jewelry, textiles, carpets, and vintage functional crafts.