Afghan Art

Lapis Lazuli is also from Afghanistan

I’m fairly certain that this is not an “antiquity” of Afghanistan.  However, I’ve carried it in and out of Afghanistan several times since I bought in the bazaar at Bagram Airfield in November of 2003.  It’s a sort of totem.  My bringer of fortune.  I had it with me at Bagram, Camp Eggers, Camp Phoenix, Camp Stone and Camp Alamo.  I’ll probably have Unny Fed Ex it to me when I get back to Camp Eggers.

I’ve never seen another bust like it in any of the other bazaars.  I’ve been to quite a few of them.  I suppose it is a one of a kind.  It does have that look as if it was sliced off of some larger piece.  As if at one time it had a body and wasn’t just shoulder and head.

I’ve flown out of Afghanistan with it several times.  The Customs and Border Police have stopped me each time and asked me; “Is this old?  Is it antiquity?  Where did you get it?”   The first time, I told them that I bought it at the bazaar at Bagram.  Later, I lied and told them that I purchased it in Thailand.

Who knows?  Perhaps I have a genuine piece of ancient art on my hands.  I seriously doubt it, though.

The bust has had many admirers over the years and I’ve been offered various amounts from folks to hand it over.   I can’t do it.  It’s the first thing that I bought in Afghanistan.  If I have my way, it’ll be the last thing that I ever hold and it will accompany me to the grave.  It’s been with me for nearly a decade now.  Hopefully, it will be with me in life another 40 years and then it will rest with me in eternity.

Unny will keep it for me while I’m in Afghanistan this time.  It’s fortune will shine upon her and our endeavors in the Land of Smiles as I find new fortune back in my old haunt.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.


a bazaar experience

Every week the Afghanis bring the Bazaar onto compounds all across Afghanistan. They sell everything at these bazaars. Cheap electronics from Pakistan and China. Bootleg DVDs. Carpets and tapestries from Tabriz, Konduz, Herat, Chagcharan, Mazr-e Sherif and other places. Jewels and Jewelry. Lapis Lauzuli rocks and sculptures. Wooden jewelry boxes. Knives and swords and muskets and rifles as well. You can even purchase a burqa for a souvineer, if you please.

Most of the times that I cruise down to the bazaar, I’ll bring some candy or pastries from the Dining Facility. There are always young kids at the bazaars. They accompany their Fathers and Uncles. Learning the family trade.

Down in Kabul, you’ll actually see women and some young girls at the bazaar. It’s rare, though.

The young fellow in the video is from Herat. He and his father make the rounds of bazaar day at the various camps. I recorded this video at the Italian ISAF in Herat. It was my first time at this particular camp. We had stopped there so the PMTs could make some coordinations with the Italian Caribinieri (Police).

I walked up to their bazaar and waved to the little bubba. I’d recognized him from the bazaar at Camp Stone. He waved back and I continued on to see if the bootleg DVD stall had a good copy of 10,000 BC yet. They didn’t. So they asked me if I wanted to buy a rug instead. lol I know. Strange logic. When I was able to escape, I made my way around the bazaar. I walked over to the kids table and started to play with knives and brass knuckles. When I walked up to look at the knives, he was singing. So I decided to try to capture him on video. As soon as I pulled out my phone, he stopped. Just smiled shyly at me. I couldn’t get him to resume for nothing. I even tried to bribe him. But all he would do was smile or laugh. It was pretty funny. Cute kid. Always smiling.

I still haven’t been able to get a good copy of 10,000 BC.

Lapis lazuli (sometimes abbreviated to lapis) is a semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense blue color.

Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for 6,500 years, and trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian sites, and lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania.[1]

Lapis lazuli is a rock, not a mineral: whereas a mineral has only one constituent, lapis lazuli is formed from more than one mineral.[2]

from wikipedia