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Have you seen pictures of decorated buses, donkey carts, trucks and other modes of transportation? Bright colors, tassels, bells, and so on? They do that in South America and all over Asia and Africa. In Afghanistan, motorcycles and bicycles also get special treatment! This beautifully embroidered textile is a vintage piece that has been salvaged from its original role as a seat cover. A functional piece would have another piece of fabric that would wrap below the seat to secure it.

Specifics on this piece: This is one cool motorcycle seat cover! All of the bright pink areas are dense embroidery stitches, so small I can barely tell if they are ladder or chain stitches. I think they are ladder stitches. The appalling thing (to some of us) is that they are done in acrylic or synthetic threads, which dates the piece to post 1970's. White seed beads, shisha mirrors and gaudy gold trim give you all the bling you could ever ask for!

The edges are decorated with twisted threads that end in glass seed beads. The back shows some signs of wear, which means that this seat did have a life and certainly got some attention. A flap down the side would have had a cord or piece of fabric that, when pulled, would secure the cover to the seat. It's padded with a lumpy batting inside, probably cotton that lumped up when washed.

How would one display this? I have no clue. Maybe a special stand could be rigged from a candle holder and some wire.


About 12" in diameter (30 cm)
Fabric along the side: 5.5" (19 cm)
Big mirrors along edge: 3" (8 cm)

Estimated age: 30 years+
Click on the zoom option for larger images.
The last photo shows the back.

Shipping is free on this piece world wide.

Afghanistan has been at the heart of the crossroads for the Silk Road for centuries. Nomads and generations of ethnic groups have thrived on trade and beautiful handicraft skills. Textiles, embroidery and carpet weaving continue to represent a plethora of skills that extend on into metal work, wood work, and ceramics. Designs reflect both the beauty of nature and life of spirit in choice of colors and fluidity of the design.

Afghan Tribal Arts has been working with Afghan artists for more than 20 years. Handcarved semi-precious beads are the core focus of the business, but we also have a huge inventory of old and new textiles, carvings and metal work. Visit our shop here on Etsy to see our beautiful treasures!

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Embroidered Motorcycle Seat Cover: Vintage Afghanistan

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  • Vintage item from the 1980s
  • Materials: cotton, beads, trim, satin, mirrors, shisha, ric rac
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 264 reviews
  • Favorited by: 103 people