A densely beaded woman's dress panel made by Kuchi nomads from Afghanistan, probably dating to the mid to late 20th century. Woven glass seed beads attached to a cloth background at the top, overlaid by a second layer with twisted acrylic threads and beaded tassles. Several layers of fabric at the top make this piece stiff and sturdy. This panel measures 11¼ x 21 inches. Kuchis (from the Persian word "koch" meaning migration) are Pashtun nomads, primarily from the Ghilzai, Kakarh, Lodi, Ahmadzai as well as some Durrani tribes, but occasionally there may also be some Baluch people among them. There are 3 million Kuchis in Afghanistan, with at least 60% of them remaining fully nomadic, and over 100,000 have been displaced in the past few years due to war, natural disasters and drought.
"A nomad's territory is in one sense boundless, but there is an established path linking a tribe's seasonal pastures, known as 'the way". Packing up and moving of the tribe along the path was, and still is, a twice-yearly ritual in which bags and animal trappings decorated with beads, shells, buttons and metal discs, long wrapped cords and tassles, add to the color and ceremony." (see Janet Harvey, Traditional Textiles of Central Asia).