British Museum Afghanistan Treasures Exhibition 3 March to 17 July 2011

I braved the hordes of tourists and the maze of the British Museum to stand before this crown that is simply breathtaking in its simplicity and beauty.

The crown is handcrafted from dainty pieces of hammered gold to form a framework of a horizontal headband with vertical inserts and all adorned with hand made gold flowers and wired droplets. The gold is reflective and the droplets create a constant shimmering movement. The crown is designed to be dismantled in to half a dozen pieces and reassembled with ease as befits the nomadic lifestyle.

In 1978, on the eve of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, at the heritage site of Tillya Tepe, a nomad cemetery, a Russian archaeologist discovered over 20,000 pieces of jewellery, including this exquisite gold crown. During the ravages of war, these precious artefacts were hidden by Afghan officials, but now these treasures are free to travel the world to remind us of the rich cultural history of Afghanistan.

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