The jewellery, handicrafts and textiles that Kashgar offers for sale are, except where stated, authentic handmade items. This means the pieces were originally made by and to be used by the people who made them or were handmade for us using traditional methods of construction. Not every item that we sell is an antique; in fact many of our pieces are new or were made within the last decade. Where ever possible accurate approximate ages are given by us in the notes accompanying an item.
The handicraft art of Kashgar
As we enter the 21st Century, the world grows smaller and communication channels open while borders simultaneously close. Traditional ways of living are ending and many of the world's minority and ethnic cultures are unprepared for life in the new millennium. In accepting superior aspects of the modern world such as health, education advances and women's rights, communities are often forced to accept the less desirable aspects, including the three worst: begging, prostitution and servitude to warlords. By maintaining traditional means of handicraft, jewellery and textile production and by selling directly to the western world via dealers like us, tribal communities, particularly the women (customary custodians of family and tribal cultural tradition) are empowered financially and psychologically and can make informed decisions about which parts of the west they wish to incorporate and which they wish to reject. The other great benefit of maintaining traditional methods of handicraft and textile manufacture is that these communities have for the most part evolved to live in synchronicity and harmony with their environment. As a result environmental sustainability and stability is maintained without the imposition of elaborate and expensive management plans by external authorities.
In line with this philosophy there must be a simultaneous recognition by the western world that handicrafts made in this manner will cost more, will not necessarily be made to fit western tastes and will be rarer than items mass produced in Chinese factories and Asian sweatshops. The beauty of these items lies in their individuality, their irregularities and their imperfections. When you hold them in your hands or gaze upon them in your home you are engaging in a form of time travel. The sense of peace, harmony and wellbeing that they bestow cannot easily be described. By supporting this philosophy we can all actively help to maintain the diversity of our planet and ensure that the unique nature of these communities and their traditions will endure into the next millennium.