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Antique handmade, long piled nomad rugs are rare and unique. Primitive Rug reveals the stories of the nomadic people who wandered the deserts and mountains of Central Asia and beyond, leaving behind these woven works of art. In our store you will find an exclusive selection of old, nomad made rugs. 

These primitive hand woven rugs are from the Amu Darya in the north of Afghanistan, Samarkand in Uzbekistan, the Afghan Pamirs, eastern Turkey, Iran, Spain, eastern Europe, and the mountainous regions of central Afghanistan.

Uzbek Rugs.jpg


Shaggy Long Pile Tribal Nomad Rugs

Filtering by Category: Posteen

The sky was remarkably pure and brilliant....

Robert Cobcroft

Hand stitched primitive nomad made clothing and rugs known as posteen, pelisses, postak, and Choga, were produced by simple methods since the first primitive needles were used in the stone age. This idea was first put forward and published inHali Magazine Issue 100, in an article by John Wertime.

The following notes are first hand accounts, where the use of these animal hide pieces were observed. From the period 1840 to 2011. Giving us some insights into methods that pre-date weaving and are probably still in use in remote regions like the Afghan Pamirs. The importance of this is the close relationship between long pile woven rugs and the hand stitched items that they mimic.

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Hazara Fur Coat - Posteen Circa 1927

Robert Cobcroft

Hazara man sporting a well used coat similar in styling to the Pashtun Skin Coat of 1867 called a posteen. The edge of this coat appears to be embroidered with a narrow band using the recumbent S motif repeated along it's length. The fur is facing inwards and the outside of this posteen is covered with a patterned fabric, the lining being made from karakol sheep skin.

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Afghan Posteen Cloak & Tibetan Chuba Gown Primitive Pieced Skin Winter Warmers

Robert Cobcroft

Late in the Nineteenth Century Western visitors had lots to say about the Primitive skins worn by Central Asian nomads, aristocratic Pashtuns, bandit robber nomads and horse rustling dealers. Dr Susie Rijnhart called them "Ugly sheepskin gowns". The writers of "The People of India" called them "a cloth lined cloak and a most comfortable wrapper". Known in Afghanistan as Posteen, Tibet as Chuba and Eastren Siberian Yakut as Sahynnax In Afghanistan's Pamirs  pieced skin covers are called postak while in the  Southern province of Wardak they are called pashmani. 1

William Woodville Rockhill affords us a view into a past where animal skin Chuba in Tibet were worn by many including, "Woman Wearing Sheepskin Chuba", "Tibetan Boys of Jyade' " and the two hide wearing vagabonds  "Dopi and Dowe". No imported fabrics, silk sheets, high thread counts or Pashmina to keep you feeling fuzzy warm and modern here, just the reality of surviving through to the next day, look at the woman in front of Rockhill's tent she barely has the motivation to meet the day.

Take a tour further North to Siberia and across to Alaska the concept of wearing animal skin clothing continues like a never ending procession through space and reaching back into the mists of history. Locally skinned animals culled from domestic and wild stock, hoof or flipper, land or sea. Taken from your own herd or hunted down then skinned, softened and tailored into your own version of a primitive coat or cover.

The use of needle and thread to bind animal skins to form the final design can be seen on the back of the Kirghiz pieced skin cover from the Afghan Pamirs. The Kirghiz Postak resembles Posteen and Chuba. A common look wherever animal skins are stitched together to create clothing, bedding and flooring.

1. Thierry Girard
Image attributions:
Dopi and Dowe, Two Men in Costume 30 APR 1892 Rockhill, William Woodville Contained in: Photograph collection ca. 1860s-1960s
Description: 1 photoprint 005 in x 007 in Black and white photoprint
Place of creation: Tibet Tsinghai Province/Qinghai Province Shang-Chia Village (Near) China Tsinghai Province/Qinghai Province Shang-Chia Village (Near)
DOE Asia: Tibet: Rockhill Colln 04865500, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Two Boys in Sheepskin Chubas (Wrap Around Garments) 22 JUL 1892 
Rockhill, William WoodvillePhotograph collection ca. 1860s-1960s
1 photoprint 004 in x 004 in mounted on 004 in x 007 in Black and white photoprint on standard card
Place of creation: Tibet Tibet/Jyade China Tibet/Jyade
DOE Asia: Tibet: Rockhill Colln 04865600, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Woman Wearing Sheepskin Chuba (Wrap Around Garment) Outside Tent n.d.
Rockhill, William Woodville Photograph collection ca. 1860s-1960s 1 photoprint 006 in x 008 in mounted on 007 in x 010 in
Black and white photoprint on cardboard mount. Place of creation: Tibet Tibet Namru De/Tengri Nor (Near)
China Tibet Namru De/Tengri Nor (Near)
DOE Asia: Tibet: Miscellaneous 04864400, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Primitive Skin Cloaks Afghanistan 1868 Posteen and Horse Rustlers

Robert Cobcroft

Primitive Skin Cloaks from the Stone Age - Posteen and Horse Rustlers  

B. Simpson photographed Colonel Waterfield and his men in Kurum Valley near "Peiwar Valley" Afghanistan in 1878. A Ghilzai Pashtun, wearing a Posteen was recorded standing to the left of the group. Patterned cloth has been used on the outside of the Posteen with the sheepskin lining showing.


When the images of the "Kakur" and "Afghan Horse Dealers" were posted on this blog there were a few questions asked.

"Maybe they're horse rustlers?" Milton Cater

"Our friends in the second image came directly from the “come as you are” party. I somehow trust them more, although they do look like they might be pickpockets, they aren’t pretending otherwise." Monika Neuland Kimrey

Searching high and low I discovered the original notes which accompanied these images published in "The People of India" between 1865 and 1875. The photographers were H.C.B Tanner (Henry Charles Baskerville) and Captian William Robert Houghton. The government of India had commissioned the work and the eight volume set of albums is noted as "being one of the first major ethnographic studies produced by the camera."

Notes accompanying the image "A Kakur Afghan" describe the cloak as "Afghan winter costume, a posteen, or cloth cloak, lined with sheeps' wool, forming a most comfortable wrapper." Posteen is consistent with other similar words used to describe sheep skin bedding rugs like "postak".

Afghan Posteen Sheepskin Winter Coat

Readers of this blog instantly detected the true character of the horse dealers. The following description was given to these dogged traders in "The People of India".  "The independence of character which seems to belong to these persons is, perhaps, not a very sound principle or feeling. The love of money would lead them to sacrifice honour or honesty on most occasions where unlawful gains were obtained with impunity."

Posteen wearing Afghan Horse Dealers



The link between pieced skin rugs, Postak, Pashmani and Posteen cloaks indicates that the practice of using animal hides including sheep skin was common in Afghanistan.  From primitive beginnings the wearing of animal skins continued in Central Asian culture throughout the ages, being refined into a patterned and lined cloak, warm and comfortable in the winter, donned by aristocrats and horse rustlers alike. A true Afghan winter "costume".


Col Waterfield in Uniform and with Sword; And Group of Men in Costume with Sabers and Rifles Outside Tent OCT 1878 DOE Asia: Afghanistan: NM 40922 04420300, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Simpson B. Bourne and Shepherd 1878. Afghanistan Kurum Valley/Peiwar Valley (Near)

Images contained within the collection: The People of India, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.  “A Kakur” Local number: PoI6.322  “Afghan Horse Dealers” Local number: PoI6.332 H.C.B Tanner (Henry Charles Baskerville) and Captian William Robert Houghton