Homewares

Many of our items are created for domestic use in Pakistan and Afghanistan, reflecting the local simple style of living, but also a desire for decoration and colour. Most items are handmade, so may contain some flaws in design and production, but often these are part of their intrinsic beauty.

Herati glass

Our vivid blue, green and brown glassware comes from Herat in western Afghanistan. The hand-blown glass is still made as it has been for generations, with the glass heated in a basic clay furnace. We have pictures of the Sultan Hamidy’s glass shop from the 1970s, when it was a famous sight for Western tourists on the overland trip from Europe to Australia. Very little has changed between then and now and his family continue to run the business.
The different colours are made by adding different chemicals to the molten glass. The glass is quite brittle due to the way it is made and because of the air-bubbles trapped inside the glass. We recommend it for decorative use only.

Teapots and teacups

Tea is an important ritual across the continent. Our small enamelled teapots are made in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, and are suitable for a single cup of tea. The larger teapots are brought in from China but are ubiquitous in Pakistan – we remember them from our childhood in England, too.
The teacups are made for the domestic market in northern Pakistan. Similar to Chinese cups, these are used extensively across Afghanistan and Pakistan in roadside teashops.

Ceramics

Our selection of ceramics includes village pottery from the Swat Valley, waterpots, gheepots, tiles and vases from Iran.
The village pottery bowls will generally have small chips in the glaze, caused by the bowls being stacked up on wooden sticks inside the kiln to maximise use of space. We recommend that they are not used for food service.
Waterpots and gheepots are made of unglazed pottery. The wind blows on water seeping through the clay of the waterpot, keeping the water inside the pot cool. Gheepots are filled with butter and set on an open fire. Once the butter has melted and the milk solids have fallen to the bottom of the pot, the clear ghee can be poured off, ready for cooking.
Our fish tiles are modern replicas of Persian tiles made for centuries in Eastern Iran, near the border with Afghanistan. We have seen similar tiles and vases in the British Museum shop, so they must be good!

Basketware

Our baskets are made from date palm leaves in a desert area close to the border of Waziristan. The baskets are made for the local market, hence the often-used bright colours and decoration. It is interesting to note that many of the smaller baskets and plates depict people and animals, which is unusual for items made by Muslims. The large baskets with lids are great for laundry, kids’ toys, or shoes. The bowls and plates are great as fruit-bowls or breadbaskets.