Arts & Crafts
Afghanistan has always had a wide range of traditional arts and crafts that have influenced the region and beyond. Many organisations are investing in renewed efforts to revive these talents and preserve them.
Turquoise Mountain is just one of the many organisations working with Afghan artists. It was established in 2006, under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales and the President of Afghanistan and is dedicated to Afghan arts and crafts.
Istalifi Pottery famed for its distinctive turquoise colour is one of the countries most recognizable crafts and dates back up to four hundred years. Originating from a small village of Istalif (about two hours drive from Kabul) this craft is beginning to thrive again.
The music industry was shut down under Taliban rule but when that ended in 2001 efforts went reviving it. Many of today’s talented youth across the country are making up for lost time. Popular music artists record in both Dari and English to reach a wider audience. The traditional instruments, such as the stringed rabab, are still played proving that the old can be the new on the music scene.
Another art dating back for centuries is Islamic Calligraphy. This art uses a special calligraphy pen, verses or sometimes just words from the Qu’ran are written in a beautified script. Calligraphy can be found on a variety of different surfaces from canvas to ceramics.
Embroidery – The art of embroidery and fabric handicrafts is rooted in the cultural history of Afghanistan. Some of the best examples are found on the women’s traditional attire as vibrant coloured fabric is decorated with all kinds of bold thread work.
Afghan carpets – Carpet weaving has been part of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage for hundreds of years. There are a different patterns woven in the different provinces and each piece has tell its own story.
Buz – baz is a musical puppetry tradition found in Northern Afghanistan.
Attan – Traditional Afghan dance performed in a group to simple drum and zurna music. It is often seen at weddings and other celebrations.