Northern Pakistan, Chitral District, Khyber-Pakhtunshwa Province
The Kalashi tribal woman are renown for their expert, colourful and intricate beading. This 12-stranded ceramic bead necklace is predominantly threaded with two colours - light and dark orange with a 3 orange-red and 5 yellow beads towards the top. There are also two sizes of bead - the light orange is +- 3mm whilst the darker orange ranges between 1.5 and 2.5 mm. Each strand is threaded onto strong nylon thread and where the strands come together at the neck, strong black cotton fabric is hand stitched to form a tube which is then drawn together with a button (plastic?) and button hole loop of twisted cottons. The necklace hangs from 35cm at the shortest to 43cm at the longest strand.
The Kalsh of Chitral are a group of 3000 people whose ancestors migrated to Chitral from Central Asia in the 2nd century BC. They have maintained their own separate cultural traditions and their photo-Hindu polytheistic religion and continue to resist conversion to Islam. The Kalash are the last remaining Bardic indigenous people from the Indo-Iranian branch and are considered a unique tribe amongst Indo Iranians. Nature plays a highly significant and spiritual role in their daily life. As part of their religious tradition, sacrifices are offered and festivals held to give thanks for the abundant resources of their three valleys.