At the end of November, 1980, the Kalash erected three funerary statues in the cemetery of the Rumbur Valley at the far north west of Pakistan, Chitral province. This practice had practically disappeared because of the cost to the dead person's family : slitting the throat of many goats, and feeding inhabitants of the three Kalash valleys with a large quantity of bread and cheese. The Kalash also said that in the end the statues were always stolen or mutilated by neighbouring Moslems, under the pretext that they were idols. The Kalash still reject Islam and remain the last « Kafirs », unbelievers, in this mountainous fortress of the Hindu-Kush, known in the past as Kafiristan – the land of pagans.
The author discusses the originality of these statues, which used to be common to most of the Kafir tribes and which today still represent one of the fundamental features of Kalash identity. The statues stand for the presence of the dead, and form part of a deep-seated ancestors' cult. However, they do not reflect the features of the dead person : on the contrary, they repeat a model which is convetional form time immemorial.