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This vintage tribal dress from Afghanistan can actually be worn as shown by the model, but mounted as a wall hanging it would be equally spectacular. This is a museum quality example of the fine embroidery work done by the Pashtuns, as referenced in Janet Harvey's Traditional Textiles of Central Asia..

And if you think I can just go to a shop and buy more, you are sadly mistaken. I bought this Afghan tribal dress at an outdoor market in Islamabad many years ago, when such markets were permitted. And it came out of an old trunk. How I wish now, in hindsight, that I had purchased the whole trunk...

Dimensions: skirt: 5 YARDS in circumference
length: 45" inches
blouse and sleeves: 65"inches from sleeve to sleeve
yoke(blouse): 15" inches long
sleeves: 20" inches

Length is no issue, nor is the width, because of the wide sleeves which virtually go to the neck. There really is no waistline or hip line to worry about. It fits beautifully the young lady who is modeling it, who is very slender.

Colors: purple, pink, green, and burgundy for the blouse, and purple for the skirt, with predominant yellow bead work. The color combinations in this piece are extraordinarily beautiful. I assume the main pieces of embroidery work were passed down from previously owned family members dresses.

Condition: Despite a few stains on the skirt, one on the sleeve at the under arm,and one at the neck at the back, I have never had such a dress in such fine condition. Especially when you consider that the skirt is silk, which is far more fragile than satin or cotton. Only the skirt needs to be ironed out. It really belongs in a museum. Or hanging from a display model such as the last image portrays from Nicholas Barnard's book Living with Decorative Textiles.

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Vintage Tribal Dress from Afghanistan with Pashtun Hand Embroidery Work


  • Vintage item from the 1980s
  • Materials: silk thread, silk skirt, cotton, silver band, mirrors, silver braid, tiny glass beads, button
  • Ships from United States to select countries.
  • Feedback: 646 reviews
  • Favorited by: 31 people