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Title: Dressing for the future in ancient garb
Subtitle: The use of cloths in Afghan politics
Author(s): VOGELSANG, Willem
Journal: Khil'a
Volume: 1    Date: 2005   
Pages: 123-138
DOI: 10.2143/KH.1.0.630001

Abstract :
This article discusses the use of clothing in the politics of modern Afghanistan, and especially that of Hamid Karzai, who in December 2001, after his nomination as the new leader of post-Taliban Afghanistan, suddenly appeared in world media dressed in a costume that combined various aspects of local Afghan clothing traditions. One of the garments he adopted was the chapan, the originally Central Asian long cloak with long sleeves that has become the sartorial hallmark of the new Afghanistan, and that is currently frequently being presented to foreign dignitaries: the true Khil’a or Khilat, or ‘Robe of Honour’. The history of the chapan, as discussed in this article, can be traced back to the early first millennium BC. Other garments that are being discussed is the pakul, the cap with a flat top that was made famous by the Afghan leader Ahmad Shah Massud who was killed on 9 September 2001. Finally there is a technical description of a long gown of the chapan type that is housed in the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, and is reported to be gift from the Afghan king and British puppet, Shah Shuja`, to the British representative, Sir William Hay Macnaghten, just before the latter was murdered in Kabul and the British were forced to retreat from Kabul, in January 1842.

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