As my brother-in-law makes his way back to Germany from Afghanistan, I thought I would share what he sent to me for Christmas. My husband told him that I would appreciate something from the country and he was right.
From the enclosed note:
The shawl is from Mazar e Sharif...renowed for its skilled workers in fabric-related endeavors (weaving, rugmaking, etc.). I figured there was a greater chance of you wearing it if I got you this wool/cotton combo instead of camel fur...the camel fur here is from real camels and smells like -- camels.
The candle holder is a little tricky. It's easiest if you hold it upside down with your left hand, grab the bulb-like part and spin the base in a counter-clockwise direction. When you turn it rightside up, the leaves will fall down and you can see the small bowl-like receptacle for the candle or pyramid-shaped incense.
Not sure what the turtle base signifies, but the images of Buddha on the leaves indicate that this was made in Bamiyan. That's the central part of the country where we went and had a meeting with the first and only female governor. That part of the country is gorgeous with the pristine landscape, extremely nice people and archeological wonders.
I was thrilled with these gifts, but it probably won't surprise you that I loved the story behind them, and that they came from halfway across the world.
It is this sort of thing that I'm hoping to showcase on my new blog Artifactual .
I am hoping that people will contribute pictures and stories of the things they value, and in the process doument a little more of the history that they share. I tend to think of these objects as antiques, but they don't have to be. Heck, I have an entire collection of concert tickets that I've kept because they represent who I was at a specific period in time.
The Artifactual site will be officially launching at the end of January. If you have something to share, whether it is a family heirloom, or something you have kept for sentimental reasons, please contact me with a photo and description at LATELIERDELISSE AT YAHOO DOT COM.