The 1932 3Af Claret by Richard Krech





In July of 1932 the Afghan post office

issued its first regular series of stamps

displaying a pictorial design.

Instead of being confined to geometric patterns

and calligraphy, these postage stamps

depicted modern and ancient monuments

and buildings in Afghanistan.


The three Af value, printed in claret

on thick paper, had an image

of the giant buddha statue

carved into the mountain at Bamiyan

some fifteen-hundred years before.

The entire series was questioned

but criticism of the 3Af was particularly fierce

because the stamp portrayed a graven image

of the Bamiyan Buddha. The 3Af was withdrawn

from circulation in September of 1932.


Sixty nine years later the government

of Afghanistan destroyed the statues themselves.


The course of human progress

winds both backwards and forwards

as it journeys on its path


towards what end?








It comes down to the things

you can hold in your hand.

Your head, for example

or the objects you encounter

in your daily routines.


“You should know that concept

like a room you know

with its furniture

& be comfortable with it” she said.


Making things personal

so we can pick them up

understand them and move our lives

in the direction we want.


Using objects to get beyond them—

the constancy of change & movement

the only fixed star.


The horizon approaching.