Seat Cover

About this object

History of use

Used to cover a bicycle seat (however there is no provision for attaching the cover to the seat).


The Pashtun have traditionally lived a nomadic lifestyle, although some groups are now adapted to urban and village living. The nomadic groups migrate seasonally between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their lifestyle has been severely disrupted by war and political upheaval.

Iconographic meaning

The sun disc in the centre could indicate that the maker wanted to incorporate an element from the natural environment that represents life-giving forces. Meandering lines of the designs are thought to entangle evil spirits and protect the user from harm. The embroidered designs are typical of Pashtun style. Beaded discs, like the ones that decorate this piece, are widely used in area and have a long history. Examples have been found in ancient burials.

Specific techniques

chain stitch

Physical description

Flat, embroidered cover, shaped to fit a bicycle seat. It is constructed from silk fabric, which is profusely embroidered in chain stitch with orange and dark red silk or rayon floss, using a meandering pattern. A large, multi-coloured, hooked sun disc motif appears in the centre. Metallic gold braid is used to outline the central design field. The embroidery is backed with red cotton textile.