Oosbegs of Mooraud Bev
Artist: Rattray, James (1818-1845)
Medium: Lithograph, coloured
This lithograph was taken from plate 20 of 'Afghaunistan' by Lietenant James Rattray.
Rattray was introduced to the subjects of this sketch, Mirza Abdulhuq and Rustom Beg, at a conference in the fort of Lughmani in Kohistan in August 1841. They were part of the powerful Uzbeg tribe of Qataghan in Turkestan, whose chief, Murad Beg, was the Mir of Kunduz. His dominion lay north of the Hindu Kush and south of the River Amu, between Bukhara and Kabul.
Their national headdress of these Turcomen was made of white muslin, wound around a high pointed skullcap of coloured silk and tied in a fold under the left ear. They were known to trade in slaves, and the Afghans called them 'adam-farosh' (man-sellers). Their favourite mode of warfare was surprise attacks called 'chuppao', when "a body of horse is sent forth to pounce upon a passing caravan, or village, or an encampment, sweeping away into miserable bondage their unfortunate prey". Rattray admired their skills as horsemen, and the complementary hardiness and agility of their steeds, which they cherished and loved as their constant and faithful companions.