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AFGHAN CRAFTSMEN (hb)1994
Author: ASTA OLESEN
ISBN: 0500016127
Year: 1994
Publisher: THAMES & HUDSON LIMITED
Category: ANTHROPOLOGY
Edition: 1
Format: Hard Cover
Language: English
Pages: 328
 ABOUT THE TITLE
A significant but little studied aspect of life in rural Afghanistan is the restriction of certain specialized occupations to particular ethnic groups. Many communities of artisans tradesmen and entertainers form their own descent groups either settled or leading nomadic or semi-nomadic lives. Afghan Craftsmen describes the lives and work of the migrating Musalli threshers Shaykh Mohammadi peddlers and Ghorbat sievemakers detailing their social and historical background as well as their interaction with settled communities. While the Musallis and the Ghorbat are specialist workers who share common descent of Indian and probable Iranian origin respectively the Shaykh Mohammadis have emerged as a spiritual body in Afghanistan which over time has absorbed a number of unrelated occupational groups. All three share a low social position economic marginality and a roving lifestyle. Their flourishing traditions of myths and legends reflect general West Asian religious folklore and the inspiration of the Sufi mystics in traditional craft guild organization - a phenomenon so far little explored in Afghanistan. The volume concludes with a discussion of the social structure and characteristics of peripatetic nomadism. Author:
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 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Editor's Preface
Acknowledgments
I Fieldwork among Itinerant Peoples
Reassessment of the Fieldwork 32
II East Afghan Economy and Society 36
Main Features of the Rural Economy 36
Ethnic Identity and Occupation 44
Crafts, Trades, and Religious Patronage 51
III The Musalli Threshers 57
Land and People in Laghman 58
Mythical Origin 67
Historical Origin 73
The Occupation of Grain-cleaning 76
Pay and Working Conditions in Laghman 87
Migrant Threshers in Kabul 93
Threshing: a Threatened Profession 98
Additional Incomes 101
Poverty and Dependency 106
Organizing the Community 108
Musallis in Helmand 112
Social Organization 119
IV The Shaykh Mohammadi Pedlars 131
Mythical and Historical Origins 132
The Trade of the Past 144
Shaykh Mohammadi Trade Today 153
Apprenticeship 160
Activities of the women 161
The Saray Khwaja Summer Camp 163
Barter and Profits 167
Economic Conditions 179
Social Organization 182
Conflicts and Solidarity 192
Political Structures 198
V The Ghorbat Sievemakers 206
Mythical Origin 207
Historical Origin 213
The Production of Sieves 221
Apprenticeship 230
The Marketing of Sieves 231
Summer Migrations 235
Wintering in Jalalabad 241
Women's Pedding 248
Men's Additional Activities 254
Economic Stratification 260
Household and Marriage Patterns 264
Political Structures 270
Group Identity and Cohesion 276
VI Conclusions 284
Appendix: The Kesb Nama 291
Bibliography 310
Glossary
Index
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