Focus on : AFGHANISTAN ( II )

June 9th, 2014

In a recent article in the New York Times, questions are raised regarding the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the transition and security concerns that preoccupy many…here and there…

In reviewing articles in search for the country’s artisanship and craftsmanship I  came across the National Geographic’s  extraordinarily well organized exhibition in 2009, labeled  “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul,” presented in various Museums throughout the world….from the Metropolitan Museum in NY to  the Bonn Museum to the British Museum, to name a few.  I saw the exhibit at the National Gallery in Washington ,DC and I remember being intrigued by the story behind the collection.

Through many years of  internal civil war and unrest these  national treasures had been hidden by Afghan workers in vaults in the Presidential Palace.  “…Workers involved in the transfer swore secrecy and designated “key holders” for the vaults. They kept their covenant through civil war and Taliban rule at enormous personal risk…The objects remained hidden despite nearly constant conflict and political upheaval in Kabul. But a campaign by the Taliban in 2001 to “destroy all images” resulted in the loss of thousands of irreplaceable artifacts throughout the country, including many of the items hidden in the Ministry of Information. But the palace treasures survived…”   

As the winds of change are blowing through the  area…what is to become of these  “gifts to the world,” as John Paul II once wrote in his  dedication “Letter to the Artists ?” ….  Food for thought…

Gold boot buckle with turquoise inlay