The traditions and styles of an ancient craft

Woodcarving in Afghanistan
Ornate woodcarving is one of the oldest crafts in Afghanistan, providing decoration on private houses, mosques and furniture for hundreds of years.
Different Styles
The woodcarving tradition can be divided into the Classical style and the better-known Nuristani style. Nuristani carving is a traditional technique of shallow relief carving and, although always evolving, many of the geometric patterns used in Nuristani carving have remained constant over the generations.

Nuristani chess board pieces.

Carved frames with calligraphy artwork.

Classical Carving
Classical carving can be compared to European Rococo or Baroque style, and it consists of graceful sweeps of flowers and foliage.

Classic Kabuli carving design.

Architectural Woodwork
Traditionally, woodcarving is found in the fabric of buildings. Elaborately carved wooden screens, such as on the façade of the Turquoise Mountain Institute, have long been used to create wonderfully ornate interior courtyards, as well as to provide sliding screens to control light and heat.
The Raw Materials
Walnut, a timber renowned for its depth of colour as well as its beautiful grain is commonly used for furniture. Cedar is used for exterior joinery. Its high resin content makes it a durable wood to withstand the harsh Afghan winter.
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