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Mazar-e-Sharif

Dare Devil

Watching a buzkashi game can be a dangerous business, especially if you are photographer and trying to take close up photos of the angry horses. I was kicked severely by the horses but was still lucky that the horses did not step on my lying body. (This photo was taken by a fellow French photographer). Kabul, 2 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Life and Death

Buzkashi is a game of life and death. The dead goat brought live to the game. The chapandaz path is a circle, taking the goat carcass from a starting point to its eternal circle. The concept of life and death, and the circular shape of a life loop, are represented in the buzkashi game. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Balancing Act

Spectators of a national level buzkashi game in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, in connection with Naoruz (Persian New Year) celebration. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008     Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great Game (2007, 2008) Album All photography materials in agustinuswibowo.com [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Eager to Watch

Spectators of a national level buzkashi game in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, in connection with Naoruz (Persian New Year) celebration. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great Game (2007, 2008) Album All photography materials in agustinuswibowo.com are [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Watching Religiously

Spectators of a national level buzkashi game in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, in connection with Naoruz (Persian New Year) celebration. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great Game (2007, 2008) Album All photography materials in agustinuswibowo.com are [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Dusty Experience

Buzkashi is usually played in a huge flat ground. Watching the game can be a very, very dusty experience, as much of the dry barren earth gets kicked up by the horses. Kabul, 2 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Rise and Fall

The buzkashi horses are specially bred and trained for the game so they have special qualites. One of them is that when the chapandaz falls off his horse, the horse would halt and wait for the horseman to remount. Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Chase the Boz

 A chapandaz (buzkashi player) on horseback is carrying a boz (“goat”), which is like a ball in this ancient polo-like game, and may weights up to 70 kilograms, or about the same as the weight of a human player himself than a goat. The goat has to be grabbed from the ground and carried by a horse rider to a designated circle on the ground. Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Dangerous Game

Buzkashi is not only dangerous game to play, but also dangerous game to watch. Aggressive horses may run on and step on spectators, and may cause stampede among panicked spectators. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great Game [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Hordes of Horses

During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

A Woman in the Scene

Buzkashi is traditionally off-limit to women. Women don’t watch it, traditionally they were even forbidden to watch, no mention to play it. But foreign women, like this French lady rider, may be exempted from the tradition. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Spirit of Afghanistan

All the national characteristics of Afghan men are represented in one buzkashi game. The fighting spirit, the bravado, the masculinity, the power and enthusiasm, the unity, the pride. One chapandaz (horse rider) once told me, “It’s better to die as a hero rather than to live as a coward.” Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Ancient but Modern

An old chapandaz makes a communication with a modern device named mobile phone, while he is still on horseback in the middle of the ancient game of buzkashi. Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great Game (2007, 2008) [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Pride of Masculinity

All the national characteristics of Afghan men are represented in one buzkashi game. The fighting spirit, the bravado, the masculinity, the power and enthusiasm, the unity, the pride. One chapandaz (horse rider) once told me, “It’s better to die rather than to live as a coward.” Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Hierarchy of Horse Riders

The most famous chapandaz are often in their forties or more, and seem to control their teams like a clan. Most of the players don’t own their own horses, so these chapandaz are men who are close to the owners and could make younger players do the hard work of riding and fighting and then grab the “boz”. Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Heavy Load

A chapandaz (buzkashi player) on horseback is carrying a boz (“goat”), which is like a ball in this ancient polo-like game, and may weights up to 70 kilograms, or about the same as the weight of a human player himself than a goat. The goat has to be grabbed from the ground and carried by a horse rider to a designated circle on the ground. Kabul, 2 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Ancient Game from Central Asia

The buzkashi players are known as chapandaz, from the word “chapan”, a traditional cloak worn by Central Asian men. In Afghanistan, the best buzkashi players are the Turkic-speaking minorities living on the north of the country, namely the Uzbeks and the Turkmens. They also usually wear fur hats typical of their Central Asian steppe nomadic tradition. Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Sea of Dust

Buzkashi is usually played in a huge flat ground. Watching the game can be a very, very dusty experience, as much of the dry barren earth gets kicked up by the horses. Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Touching the Limit

The game of buzkashi, can be very brutal, and fatal. But it crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty. Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great Game (2007, 2008) Album All photography materials in [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

Men’s Game

Buzkashi is traditionally off-limit to women. Women don’t watch it, traditionally they were even forbidden to watch, no mention to play it. Kabul, 16 November 2007   Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.   Back to Photography Album. Back to Buzkashi–The Great Game (2007, 2008) Album All photography materials in agustinuswibowo.com [...]

January 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

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