Afghan Kuchi Nomads Vintage Ceremonial Baby Dress, Ca 1950's, #1522

$ 1,000.00

Afghan Kuchi Nomads Vintage Ceremonial Baby Dress, Ca 1950's, #1522

Description: #1522 Afghan Kuchi Nomads Vintage Ceremonial Baby Dress, Ca 1950's. Vintage, Handmade, Cotton Ethnic Afghan Uzbek handmade nomads baby dress. The Dress is decorated by hand with tassels, metals, shells , beads and other ornaments also .All completely made by hand and very protective item against evil eye and for any negative meaning and looking . face of Front & Back are almost same heavily full adorned all these materials and it is a one of kind Art piece for home decor and wall handing .

Dimensions:Size:Height : 45 cm, Length : 33 cm

Condition: Very good condition for its age.

Some background on the Kuchi: The Kuchi (The Afghan Nomads): The nomadic Kuchi are potentially the largest vulnerable population in Afghanistan. For centuries their semi-annual migrations with their herds of sheep, goats, donkeys, and camels led to important contributions in terms of skins, meat, and wool to local communities. More than 80% of Afghanistan's land is suitable only for sparse grazing making this sort of seasonal migration ideal. After the war against the Soviet Union, the subsequent years of foreign-imposed war, drought, and ethnic tensions, however, the number of Kuchi, as well as the size of their herds, has dropped dramatically.

The Kuchi were once celebrated in the west as handsome, romantic nomads adorned with silver and lapis jewelry. Traditionally, they have lived by selling or bartering animals, wool, meat, and dairy products for foodstuffs and other items with villagers. As they move from pasture to pasture, the Kuchi are able to escape the limits on the size of local herds, a restriction villagers are subjected to.

Since the fall of the Taliban, life for most Afghans has improved. However, this has not proved true for the Kuchi. Since the 1960's, 70's, and early 80's, the Kuchi population has shrunk by 40% and many of them reside in refugee or displacement camps.

The reasons are numerous. The demise of the Kuchi tradition is the result of continued war, destruction of roads, drought, air raids, Soviet bombing and other war-related causes. These problems were further compounded by the fact that the drought from 1998 to 2002 caused the loss off 75% of the Kuchi herds. Pastures have still not recovered sufficiently. In addition, landmines and other un-exploded ordinances have restricted the areas available for grazing. War also forced many Kuchi to flee their summer grazing lands in parts of central Afghanistan. When they returned, they found that locals in the areas had converted much of their pastures to farming lands.

Consequently, some Kuchi have given up their nomadic lifestyle and have taken up residence on the outskirts of cities, working as laborers. Many express a desire to return to their traditional role, but many aid agencies, however, concentrate on short-term economic and humanitarian aid, rather than the sort of long-term aid the Kuchi would need to rebuild their herds. (Source: Embassy of Afghanistan)

Some information on the Evil Eye Follows
The evil eye is a curse believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when they are unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury.Talismans created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called "evil eyes".

The idea expressed by the term causes many different cultures to pursue protective measures against it. The concept and its significance vary widely among different cultures, primarily in West Asia. The idea appears several times in translations of the Old Testament. It was a widely extended belief among many Mediterranean and Asian tribes and cultures. Charms and decorations with eye-like symbols known as nazars, which are used to repel the evil eye are a common sight across Turkey, Greece, Albania, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Southern Italy (Naples), the Levant, and Afghanistan and have become a popular choice of souvenir with tourists. (Source: Wikipedia)
Some information on the use of Cowrie Shells on ceremonial items.

I love to cowrie shells in decoration and did some research on the subject. I have copied this below directly from the, as it gives a good summary of their use around the world.

"The attractive and ever popular cowry shells have fascinated people throughout history and, subsequently, have many uses and meanings. They have been used extensively in jewelry making, as monetary value, for decorating accessories and masks; as well as for ceremonial, spiritual and ritual purposes in almost every part of the world. Gaining popularity throughout much of Ancient Africa, it was regarded as the strength of the ocean. In Africa, South and North America, the cowry symbolized the power of destiny and prosperity; and in majority of the African communities, especially in most West African cultures, the cowry shell is regarded as a female symbol or a sign of fertility. Therefore waistbands of stringed cowry shells are worn around the hips with the belief that they increase fertility. Women in Roman Pompeii are said to have worn cowry shells to prevent sterility; while in Japan, a name for the cowry shell translates to the easy delivery shell giving Japanese women who believed in the power of a cowry, a reason to hold cowry shells while giving birth to aid in a successful and less stressful delivery".

"As the oldest and most significant form of monetary value in many ethnic groups around the globe, it is noted that the ancient Egyptians included millions of cowrie shells within Pharaoh's tombs. This practice also dates back thousands of years in China where shells could not be counterfeited and sources for cowries were so far removed from China giving the wealthy a reason to import cowry shells for currency use. Excavations of early Chinese emperors evidenced that even the royal dead had currency stored up for the afterlife because cowry shells were found placed in their mouths. The shells were used for centuries as African currency even before large amounts of Maldivian cowries were introduced onto the African continent by Western nations during slave trading day. Currency in Africa before its modern history implied the use of a variety of precious and scarce objects as mediums of exchange both in the relations of commerce and in the symbolic domain of gift exchange. Precious objects such as gold, gold dust, ivory, salt, beads, iron, cloth and cowry shells were used as different forms of currency in various parts of Africa during the fifteenth century. However, it was the cowry shells that seemed to have dominated due to its importation into Africa from other countries around the globe. History also shows that they were also used as means of exchange on the sub-continent of India as well as in Arabia. Even after the introduction of coins, cowries still remained an integral part of many African regions. In the 1920s, the Igbos kept them in circulation; and in the 1930s, the Yorubas used them during the severe economic depression and its usage went on into the early 1940s. Although the use of cowries was discouraged or outlawed, they still played a special role as bride price payment in show of gratitude from the groom and his family to his bride and hers. Cowries were produced in sacks of bags as a dowry or bride price in most parts of Africa as noted in the widely acclaimed novel Things Fall Apart where twenty bags of cowry shells were paid as bride price during the engagement ceremony of the groom Ibe to his bride’s father Obierika. There are other ceremonies where cowries played a significant roles. Ceremonies such as funerals and secret society initiations would not be complete without a cowry payment".

"In Northern Australia, different shells were used by different tribes with one tribe's shell regarded less in value or meaning in the eyes of another tribe. In the islands North of New Guinea, the shells were broken into flakes. Holes were bored through these flakes, which were then valued by the length of a threaded set on a string, as measured using the finger joints. In the South Pacific Islands the specie Oliva Carneola was commonly used to create shell money. As late as 1882, local trade in the Solomon Islands was carried on by means of a coinage of shell beads, small shells laboriously ground down to the required size by the women. No more than were actually needed were made, and as the process was difficult, the value of the coinage was satisfactorily maintained. It is said that on the Papua New Guinea, the Island of East New Britain’s shell currency is still considered legal currency and which is exchanged for Kina".

"Used as decorations on drums, clothing, headdresses, furniture and many other items, cowry shells are also sometimes used as dice, in board games or in foretelling the future. As shells are thrown, those landing with their openings showing indicate the actual numbers rolled. Although cowry shells are no longer used especially as monetary exchange, their memory and history are kept alive within the confines of the Central Bank of West African Countries in Bamako Mali, in museums, art shows and exhibitions and fashion shows in various countries around the globe. These measures continue to explore and showcase the multicultural significance of the cowry in today’s society; therefore making the cowrie shell a widespread symbol of continents, cultures, and the arts".

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