Shir Paiwand Interview Transcript


My name is Shir Khosrow Paiwand, and I was born in Herāt, Afghanistan. My father was also in the trade; he was doing the same business. When I was at school and we moved to Kabul, Afghanistan, he had a friend, and he had a carpet shop. He sent me to the carpet shop, so I was going there after school. I was about 20, 22 as I remember, and I learned the business there.

After that I became very interested in the carpets. And after a few years, like four to five years, I started my own business, and I opened a shop in Kabul, Afghanistan. And after all the problems started in Afghanistan, then we had to leave. So then we came to Pakistan and moved all the carpets to Pakistan. Then we started collecting some very special and old pieces in Pakistan, which were not available in Afghanistan, so they were all landed here from a long time ago.

We didn’t have many Iranian or Persian carpets in Afghanistan, so mainly we had Baluch or Turkmen. And those were the things available in Afghanistan: Baluch. But since we were in Afghanistan, there were not many old carpets. But when we came to Pakistan, you know, then I saw these around. And then the people went to collect these things. And by that time also the road, the border, opened between central Asia and the other worlds, so people could go inside and bring these pieces, like good carpets or some textiles. And we started collecting and buying these things. And that’s why I have a beautiful collection of Turkoman and Baluch carpets from Afghanistan.

The shop was there until 1987. And then we moved from Kabul to Pakistan, and I was there a couple of years, and then we came in ’89 to Canada. When we were in the downtown, we could get all kinds of customers—you know, some younger people, some students—because my shop, our business, has a variety of things. It’s not only carpets but, I should say, handicrafts, smaller things, many bags, or bag faces, smaller things. But mostly, though, doctors or lawyers or some collectors, and everybody comes.

It’s good just to have a connection with them so we can exchange knowledge all the time and because, to see a carpet, you have different experiences, and it’s perfect to come together and talk to each other. There is an interest in the carpets.


Interviewer: Natalia Nekrassova, Curator

Researcher: Adrienne Costantino, Curatorial Assistant

Date and time of interview: Friday, February 28, 2014, 9:40–10:10 a.m.

Location of interview: Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Avenue, Toronto, Ontario