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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » August 29, 2012
Exhbitions
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Ethnic Jewelry From Afghanistan
August 29, 2012   
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Anyone who loves jewelry is in for a treat at the Asian Gallery, which is staging an exhibition of Afghan jewelry from the collection of the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw.

Afghan jewelry, made of silver and white metals, stands out with lavish, symmetrical ornamentation based on geometrical and floral motifs. Many of the Afghan jewelry pieces from the Asia and Pacific Museum collection are ethnic items worn by nomads known as the Kuchi people. The most distinctive pieces are those worn on the forehead and a wide diversity of massive necklaces. All are generously adorned with multi-colored beads and glass. They also come with countless attachments made of chains and coins. The decorative aspect aside, traditional jewelry used to denote the social standing of the woman who wore it and often served as a protection against the “evil eye.”

Visitors to the exhibition should not miss unique necklaces worn as heavy and rigid bands with turquoise and lazurite. These are worn by the Nuristani and Kalash ethnic groups of the Dard people who live in the remote provinces of Afghanistan. It is also worth checking out the many different shapes of earrings, bracelets and jewelry worn on the temples.

Amulets constitute a highly popular form of jewelry in Afghanistan and many other Muslim countries. They take the form of cylindrical, rectangular and triangular penchants containing scrolls with lines from the Koran. Wrapped in pieces of waxed cloth, the scrolls are supposed to protect their owners from spells, diseases and all other manner of evil.

Items shown at the exhibition include decorative head gear worn by different ethnic groups in Afghanistan, such as the Pashtuns, Hazaras and Turkmen. Among these items you will find glittery koloh hats which, popular to this day, are almost entirely covered with recycled pieces of jewelry, beads and coins.

The Asian Gallery is also showing several outfits which Afghan women wear with the displayed jewelry.

Ethnic Jewelry of Afghanistan
From the Collection of the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw, Asian Gallery, 5 Freta St., tel. 22 635-28-11 www.muzeumazji.pl
Tickets zl.5 (full price) and zl.3 (discounts),
free admission on Thursdays. Until Oct. 15
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