MY TEXTILE MERCHANT FRIENDS — The Beauty of Afghanistan
Photographs and a story of a journey to Afghanistan in 1977, by Joanne Warfield.
afghanistan,bamiyan,silk road,kabul,buzkashi,kuchi
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MY TEXTILE MERCHANT FRIENDS

My discovery of “Chicken Street” was a real find. It later became known for souvenirs, but when I was there the shops were selling textiles, lapis lazuli, carpets, antiques, and more (though, I don’t recall seeing any chickens). As I wandered along, looking in windows, I was invited by many vendors to “Sit, have tea.” One such shop owner seemed particularly pleasant. His textiles were stunning, so I went in. He spoke a fair amount of English, which helped, since I only knew about ten words of Farsi by then. His name was Mohamed Nabi Rajab, owner of Dara-I-Zang Handicrafts, and he and I became good friends over the several months that I was in Kabul. He also introduced me to his good friend who sold beautiful woven saddle bags and rugs, and another who sold antique garments. I imported goods from all of them, which were rapidly sold through an exhibition at the Minge International Museum.

In 2001, when I first posted my photos online, I received an email from an Afghan woman who escaped to Germany during the Russian invasion. She told me she had known Nabi, and though he had gotten his family out the year before, he died trying to escape. I was heartbroken to loose such a fine friend.