Last Updated February 7, 2019
Hand stitched primitive nomad made clothing and rugs known as posteen, pelisses, postak, and Choga, were produced by exactly the same methods since the first primitive needles were used in the stone age.
"The sky was remarkably pure and brilliant; the air piercingly cold. I drew closer my posteen." Capt. James Abbott Bengal Artillery (sir) 1843
Notes on Posteen, Pelisses, Postak, Choga, Pieced Skin rugs mats and covers from 1840 to 2011
Godfrey Thomas VIGNE, Esq. F.G.S. 1840
The reign of Timour Shah was still remembered by the older inhabitants of Kabul, as that in which the city enjoyed its greatest modern prosperity. He was a liberally-minded ruler, and was known to lend a man money, and tell him to go and trade with it. The revenue of Dost Mohamed was certainly on the increase; he had overturned the old system of collection, and generally took one third of the produce of all lands under cultivation. Yet on a sudden emergency, I have known him exact five or ten rupees from every shop in the bazaar. But the whole of his fiscal revenue did not amount to more than three laks, or about 20,000l. sterling. Nothing came into the city without payment of a few pice, or half- pence ; every sheep in every forty was the property of the Ameer ; an officer acting as a broker, again taxed them in the market ; another duty was paid for the mark which showed that the broker's tax had been paid. "The posteen, a leathern jacket maker, or currier, paid half a shahi—about three farthings— in the rupee, according to the value of the posteen ; so that the sheep in the market had to pay two or three rupees for it." pg 377
Receiving money, they (Kirghiz) always demand the most exorbitant sums for objects of the least value, or absolutely reject every bargain, where a question of money arises. Orenburg, Troitsk, the forts Petropavlofsk Presnogorkofskoi, Ormsk (Yeman Kala), Semipalatinsk, Oust-Kamenogorskaia, and Ouralsk, are the places where they come to trade in the greatest numbers. Orenburg is the most important of all. The Kirghiz trade principally with the Chinese at Kovld- ja, or, as the Chinese call it Hi. pg 433
The best time for commerce or ex- change is from the middle of June to the middle of November. The Kirghiz go for the purpose of making exchanges to Khiva, Bokhara, Kokan, and Tashkhend, whither also other trading people go. The inhabitants of these last cities themselves sometimes transport their merchandise into the Kirghiz villages, or exchange a part of it.
WHEN they (The Kirghiz) traverse the Steppes to come to Russia ; but the Russians and Chinese only trade with them upon their respective frontiers. The merchandise which the Kirghiz deliver to their neighbours is the same everywhere. It can assuredly only consist of their flocks, or the produce of their flocks. In detail, it comprises sheep, horses, horned cattle, camels, goats, goats' hair, wool of different animals and of different qualities ; skins of goats, foxes, korsaks, hares and marmots, felts, armiatchina, dakhi [a. kind of habit), touloupes (sheep-skins sewn together in pelisses), horns of antelopes, and madder roots. These are the articles which the Kirghiz hordes furnish to Russia and other nations, but the Russians have the greater share of them. pg 434
A Personal Narrative of a visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, & Afghanistan, Reisdence at the court of Dost Mohamed : with notices of Runjit Sing, Khiva, & the Russian Expedition London : Whitaker & Co. Ave Maria Lane. Godfrey Thomas VIGNE, Esq. F.G.S. 1840
Capt. James Abbott Bengal Artillery (sir) 1843
The sky was remarkably pure and brilliant; the air piercingly cold. I drew closer my posteen, or cloak of fur. I thought of the fanciful story which Summud Khaun had related, when I purchased that cloak. "Feeroozooddeen was one night seated in durbar. The night was excessively cold, the teeth of his people chattered, in spite of themselves. He looked round upon them with a smile, and said- We will soon teach you to bid defiance to the cold. He signed to his steward, and bade him bring from the store-room a number of posteens, corresponding to the number of his attendants. When these were distributed, and each had wrapped himself up, he said to one of these, now Daood Khaun, take a light, give my compliments to the cold, and beg him to enter. The servant obeyed, but returned immediately with the candle extinguished. The cold he said, in answer to your hospitable invitation, has rudely blown out the light. Indeed, said Feeroozooddeen, then give the light a posteen (fur cloak), and now go and usher in the cold." These posteens are generally of doombah's skins; the fur inside, the leather tanned to the consistence of wash leather, stained a buff colour, and beautifully embroidered with floss silk. The price at Heraut was about eight ducats, or 4l. each. The more wealthy, however, wear cloth cloaks, lined throughout with furs from Siberia. Vol 1 pg 68 -69
"The peasantry of this part of Russia are chiefly clad in the chogah, or cloak of Bokhara." Vol 2 pg 82
The articles of merchandize, brought from Orenburgh and Astracan, by the Bokhara caravans, are broad cloth, chintz, cotton cloths, furs, leather. The lambskins of Bokhara are indeed finer than the native product of Khiva. Vol 2 pg 332
Narrative of a Journey from Heraut to Khiva, Moscow, and St. Petersburgh during the Late Russian Invasion of Khiva -with some account of the court of Khiva and the kingdom of Khaurism. VOL 1 and 2 1843
George Alfred Henty 1904
“In addition to the regular uniform there was a posteen, or sheepskin coat; loose boots made of soft skin, so that the feet could be wrapped up in cloth before they were put on; and putties, or leggings, consisting of a very long strip of cloth terminating with a shorter strip of leather.” pg 12
“His tunic was thrown off, and a posteen -- or Afghan sheepskin coat -- was put on, in its place.” pg 87
"Keep quiet, master!" Yossouf's voice said, in his ear. "It is your only chance of safety."
So saying, he dragged Will into the narrow space between the gate and the wall; then, as he rose to his feet, he wrapped round him a loose Afghan cloak, and pressed a black sheepskin cap far down over his face. pg 211
A rough sheepskin cap was obtained for Will from one of the camel men. His tunic was thrown off, and a posteen--or Afghan sheepskin coat--was put on, in its place. pg 222
Through Three Campaigns, A Story of Chitral, Tirah and Ashanti by The Project Gutenberg EBook Release Date: February 21, 2007 [EBook #20641] G. A. Henty from the Original Book 1904
Charles Dickens 1873
Not many miles from Jalallabad, thus wrote: In the conflict my posteen flew open and exposed the colour.
The cut was made through a sheepskin posteen, under which the colour was concealed, lying over my right shoulder, that thick Petersham.
There was a stupid wild-beast look about the men, who, with their tangled hair and dirty sheepskin caftans, or still more sordid pelisses …. (Jan 23, 1864) pg 521
All the Year Round by Charles Dickens 1873
O. Olufsen 1898 - 1899
The tanning of the hides of both domestic and wild animals for boots and for the leather bags used for flour and corn is understood by almost all the natives. The hides of Kiyik and the Ovis Poli, the large wild sheep from Pamir, are especially valued for fur cloaks on account of their long thick fur, but, as they are difficult to get, most people wear ordinary sheep-skin cloaks. THROUGH THE UNKNOWN PAMIRS The Second Danish Pamir Expedition.
A. C. Burnell, William Crooke
Some very fine chogas were offered for our inspection, but the exorbitant prices pg 216
A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases: Hobson-JobsonBy Henry Yule, London 1903
Karmysheva, B . Kh. 1964
Noted, hassali postin, rugs of dyed sheepskin, from a brides dowry. Location Kizylcha, Uzbekistan.
On The History of Population Formation in the Southern Areas of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (Ethnographic Data). Moscow 1964
Archiv orientální 1967
Of the posteen how much work is there? She said, I have made the posteen, this one is softening. When it becomes soft, come in the morning; then it will be yours! In the morning the shepherd came, said: That posteen there, is it ready? ( she answered ), the posteen is ready, you throw your turban to me, from my side downwards raise It up! Volume 35 PG 588
Orientální ústav (Československá akademie věd) Orientální ústav, Vols. 3- include Bulletin of the Czechoslovak Oriental Institut, no. 1 1967
M.M Aslam 1977
doing business in posteen manufacturing in Kabul, page 27
My father had a limited number of workmen (fur tailors) working in his small establishment of posteen ... The Amir once decided to nationalise the business of posteen manufacture, to enable his Government to export the posteens for ... "Royal Proclamation abolishing the Begar order and denationalising the forced labour of the posteen business." page 29
"the Khalifas has a jolly good time at the expense of my father. The manufactures and the sellers of the posteens groaning"
The second incident, in brief, is this. Before establishing his business in Quetta permanantly, my father used to import carpets and posteens from Afghanistan page 30 keep your mouth shut and not to disclose party secrets and let down your colleagues. He also stated that he had earlier visited his father's shop, bought a posteen from him and gave him a sum of Rs. 10/000/- to spend for your defence page 112
Jacobabad, who used to bring posteens to the Jacobabad Mela for sale page 144
Some memories are sweet, an autobiographical sketch 1977 University of Michigan Digitized Jan 6, 2007
M. Nazif Shahrani 2010
Note to Thierry Girard
Thanks for the kind words about having read my book and sharing your pictures of what in the northern parts of Afghanistan are called postak (fur mats). These are indeed commonly used throughout Turkistan, may be not in such jazy colors as these may have been done for the tourist trade in Kabul. But such fur rugs or mats are in fact used to place over felt rugs (kegiz or namad, or palaas) for setting. They may take the place of woven Afghan rugs to mark the place of honor for special guests in the guest houses (qoshkhanah or mehmankhanah) especially if they are well made and comfortable. Postak are also used in cold climes, as among the Kirghiz and Wakhi, as part of their bedding for warmth.
Chair, Department of NearEastern languages and Cultures Professor of Anthropology, Central Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Indiana University-Bloomington 2010
Elmira Gyul 2011
Elmira Gyul confirmed that Hasali Pustak’s – pieced skin mats were made by Kungrat Uzbeks and posted images on facebook, taken at Boysun in southern Uzbekistan “Uzbek Kungrats make pustaks (hasali pustaks) up to now – Surkhandarya, south Uzbekistan.”
Editors note : (Karmysheva also noted that the same pieced skin rugs were made in Kizyl Cha by Uzbeks, approximately 100 kilometres west of Boysun. See - On The History of Population Formation in the Southern Areas of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (Ethnographic Data). Moscow 1964)
Elmira Gyul 2011
Examples of skin covers circa 1870 and 1886 LC-USZ62-128160 & LC-USZ62-128157 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Part of: George Kennan Papers.