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Men and women's clothing from Afghanistan

A New Exhibition in the TRC Gallery: 8th November 2010 - 23rd March 2011

Afghan clothing exhibition comes to Leiden:  For hundreds of years Afghanistan has been at the cross-roads between Asia, India and the West. During all that time, Afghanistan changed its name many times, but one thing that has not changed is the love the Afghan people have for colourful clothing, jewellery and embroidery.
The materials, designs and colours used by the Afghans for their clothing reflect the central and strategic location of their country. This aspect is found among all the people. The main ethnic groups in Afghanistan are the Baluch, Hazaras, Nuristani's, Pashtuns, Tajiks, Turkmens and Uzbeks. Each group has its own special way of living and its own history and background, which are reflected in their traditional dress. Some of these garments are relatively plain, others are decorated with woven, dyed and embroidered patterns in bright colours. Some garments are made of silk, others of heavy felt reflecting how cold the temperature can be at night in the mountains.

Afghan girl in traditional clothing. Photograph: Hans StakelbeekAfghan girl in traditional clothing. Photograph: Hans Stakelbeek

Although Western styles of clothing are becoming more widespread, the Afghan people are proud of their traditional dress and use it as often as possible, especially for special occasions such as the religious Eid festivals and the New Year celebrations at Nauroz. The exhibition includes over 30 outfits, plus other garments and accessories, for men, women and children. There is also an unusual outfit for buzkashi, the aggressive game of 'polo' played by Afghan men on horseback. In addition there will be the opportunity to try on a chadari (burqa'), the famous Afghan veil for women. Also on display will be a series of photographs taken by the Dutch photographer, Hans Stakelbeek, who spent many times in Afghanistan on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The organisation of the exhibition is being supported by Dr Willem Vogelsang, former curator Southwest and Central Asia of the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, and since June 2008 working in Uruzgan, Afghanistan.

TRC Gallery, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Opening times: Monday to Wednesday, from 10.00 until 16.00, other days by appointment.

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Hogewoerd 164
2311 HW Leiden.
Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 /
+31 (0)6 28830428  

The TRC is open again from Tuesday, 2nd June, but by appointment only.

Bank account number:
NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59,
Stichting Textile Research Centre

TRC Gallery exhibition:
5 Febr. -27 August 2020: American Quilts

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The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
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