About this object

History of use

Perhaps a part of the everyday attire of women.


Collected by Allice Legat in Afghanistan while she was engaged in anthropological fieldwork, in 1977.

Cultural context

Made and worn by women.

Iconographic meaning

The long embroidered extension safeguards the vulnerable nape of the neck and braided hair. The triangular motif worn over the base of the skull is an amulet that symbolizes fertility and happiness.

Physical description

Woman’s embroidered hat or headdress, consisting of a skull cap with a long, wide ‘tail’ or extension in the back. The skull cap is made of black cotton textile, which is gathered at the top to fit the shape of the head, and there is an elaborate embroidered, crown-like topknot in the centre. The ‘tail’ or extension is attached to the back of the cap from approximately ear to ear and tapers to a narrow, squared-off end at the wearer’s waist. There is a triangular embroidered motif at the centre back where the extension meets the cap at the base of the skull. On the extension, triangular and diamond-shaped embroidered motifs are worked in bright pink and red silk floss, with small accents of green and yellow, and are arranged horizontally in narrow rows down the length of the extension. The embroidery stitches are so densely worked that very little of the background textile is visible. The extension is backed with a coarsely woven textile made of a bast fibre, perhaps jute. There is a small amount of silver thread embroidery on the crown.