20th Century Lakai Shield
This is a Lakhai (Lakai) embroidered shield made in Afghanistan in the early 20th century. It is made out of wool with a cotton backing, embroidered with silk and with silk tassels.
The Lakhai (or Lakai) are a nomadic tribe of Uzbekistan, northern Afghanistan and Tajikistan. They are known for their brightly colored geometric embroideries. These textiles are highly individualized, made up of abstract designs chosen by the women who made them. Some of these abstractions are sourced from the animal world, though they are expressive rather than representational. Motifs that can be described as scorpions, spiders, snakes, birds of prey and rams’ horns were commonly used, but the individual embroiderer had the freedom to alter these shapes and create her own composition as she saw fit.
This shield is decorated with antler motifs and stylized solar motifs, bordered in a narrow band of petitpoint stitched silk decorated with various geometric motifs.
Circa: early 20th century
Material: Silk embroidery on wool, cotton backing
Dimensions: 17" x 12"
Inventory number: TX3898