Kandahar Treasure was founded as a social enterprise by Rangina Hamidi in 2008. With the mission of decreasing marginalization of women in Afghanistan, it has focused on traditional khamak embroidery as an avenue for generating income for the women.
The scarves and shawls are hand embroidered with a satin stitch. The word khamak refers to the embroidery thread itself meaning raw, untwisted, or unspun. This type of thread produces a flat, shining surface so desired by the khamak customer.
The high quality of embroidery is exemplified in making designs by counting the pattern threads correctly, no design can be off by a stitch (the fineness of the base fabric is 70 to 72 threads per inch), and by the work being reversible, the back as perfect as the front.
Inspired by complex Islamic geometric patterns (this one Pahlawi pattern), Khamak is unique to Kandahar and is considered by art experts to be one of the world’s finest embroidery techniques. It is traditionally used to decorate the striking, floor-length shawls worn by Southern Afghan men, as well as table linen, women’s head-coverings, and girls’ wedding trousseaus. Learn more about Afghan women and khamak embroidery.