For centuries, the religion of Islam and Persian culture have influenced Western Civilization. From Afghanistan the stone Lapis Lazuli has been traded to make the pigment, ultramarine since the late middle ages. One of the most expensive pigments ever made. As shown in my previous post by Vermeer. Once it was able to be reproduced synthetically, it became a fashion stable. Below is an photo from Victor & Rolf's Fall 2002 (RTW). It is an amazing representation of cultural diversity. A proud, confident western woman, in the color, ultramarine- originated from Afghanistan- with the paisley pattern of Persia. She is stunning, and she knows it.
A wonderful example of how beautiful we can be we we take our parts to make a new whole. The reality is, of course, is that we do not do this often enough. We now enter into our ninth year of war in the Middle East. Both sides have lost more than is fathomable to someone like me. The war is over terror, oil, or water? Precious stones, such as Lapis Lazuli are being pilfered and ripped from the earth under all of our noses. We stand not only to loose our dependence on oil, but our ability to share beauty as well.