Since the early days of research some 100 years ago, Baluchistan´s cultural heritage is known for its high quality craftsmanship and beauty. Intricate geometric patterns on clay vessels, highlighted in different colours, betray an intense aesthetic sense, hybrid creatures and magic animals allow glimpses into a world of phantasy and imagination. Unfortunately, this appeal has created an economic value, reflected by the sheer amount of vessels from illegal excavations in Baluchistan on the art market.
The outstanding collection of 804 ceramic vessels and 15 stone objects retrieved in 2005 by the Pakistani customs in the port of Karachi and saved by the government from disappearing on the international art market provides but a faint idea of what is buried in the soils of Baluchistan - and of what must already have been lost. Their provenance is mostly central and southern Baluchistan, in date they range from c. 3500 to 400 BCE. The German-Pakistani Archaeological Mission to Kalat was invited 2012 by the Department of Archaeology and Museums and the Ministry for Culture and Tourism Sindh to document and restore the objects in the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi.
This book was published on the occasion of an exhibition opened in November 2015 in the National Museum. It is not only an exhibition catalogue presenting 820 objects in great detail. Lavishly illustrated texts provide insights into this remote region, its archaeological exploration and the major sites, placing this rich cultural heritage into the wider context of the Indo-Iranian borderlands and the Indus Valley Civilization.
The project was carried out in close collaboration with the Ministry for Culture and Tourism and the National Museum. It received generous financial support from the Cultural Preservation Program of the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Consulate in Karachi.