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Eating cloth from Afghanistan

Embroidered kamarband (waist cloth) from Afghanistan, mid-19th century. Embroidered kamarband (waist cloth) from Afghanistan, mid-19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum, acc. no. 2014,6010.1.

The British Museum, London, holds a long piece of embroidered cloth, some 6.5 by 1 m, which is described as a table cover or a floor mat, but which may be a kamarband, a traditional stretch of cloth wound around the waist. The ground material is cotton, and the embroidery is carried out in chain stitch with an ari hook, using silk thread.

The cloth was acquired in the mid-nineteenth century by Major John Goodday Strutt Gilland (1791-1848), who served in Afghanistan during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842) and distinguished himself at the siege of Ghazni (Afghanistan) in the summer of 1839. The cloth reputedly was taken after the British had taken the Ghazni fortress and, again reputedly, had been worked for the Afghan leader, Dost Mohammed Khan, who was deposed by the British in 1839, but returned to Kabul after the British defeat and who would rule the country until 1863.

See also the TRC online exhibitions Afghan Dress (TRC, Leiden, 2017) and Dressing the Stans: Textiles, Dress and Jewellery from Central Asia (TRC, Leiden, 2017).

British Museum online catalogue (retrieved 17 May 2016).

WV

Last modified on Monday, 17 May 2021 09:42