After Kelly spent a semester in India, she brought back a beautiful wall hanging for me. It’s purple (always awesome), with lots of delicate gold thread. There are animal and people shapes, and it’s very interesting to look at without being overwhelming. It’s still hanging in my room in Minnetonka, waiting for a more permanent home.
My friend Joe is in town for the holidays. He’s a marine (according to the NYT, that word in this context is not capitalized) currently at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, but was in Afghanistan until November. He brought back a woven pillow cover and sheet set sold in home goods stores for the general population, also made in Afghanistan. It’s a dark bluish-green, also with gold threads.
Souvenir-y things like this are frequently mass-produced in China for cheap and then shipped to “developing” countries to be passed off as “authentic” for tourists. When Nick was in South Africa he ran into a similar pattern.* But Joe was very confident that these textiles were items that the Afghani population buys these for use in their homes. I’m pretty stoked.
*South Africa is slightly different though, due to its apartheid history. Since so many countries were boycotting them, they learned how to make absolutely everything themselves. The introduction of Chinese goods into the market is very new — within the past 5-10 years.