War Rugs from Afghanistan

Afghanistan has one of the richest traditions when it comes to carpet weaving and at the beginning of this week inspirational platform Colors Magazine highlighted a recent trend in the beautiful craft. Although over the last decades the country and its people have been living under the scrutiny of first the invasion of the Soviets, followed by the reign of the Taliban, after which the most recent power vacuum followed after the Taliban were overthrown, with a lot of unrest remaining. When it comes to the patterns on the extraordinary rugs, Afghan weavers traditionally turn to what’s most familiar. This meant in the 1980s, when the Mujahedeen were fighting back the Soviet occupation, local weavers abandoned the traditional flowers and water jugs to illustrate what their days consisted of back then: war. Anything from tanks, helicopters, AK’s, grenades and rocket launchers were becoming part of the centuries-old tradition, either as elements of a landscape or as the central icons in a pattern. Another modern inspiration that followed were the attacks of 9/11, which became a theme in the carpets and most recently the drone attacks on Pakistan, where a lot of weaver flew during the regime of the Taliban, are now inspiring the patterns of Afghan rugs. So fascinating!

Although one sees throughout history that Afgan rugs find their way into the Western world, one way or another, even centuries before today, an important boost in the reoccurring presence followed after the attack on the World Trade Center. That moment significantly pushed the orders of rugs up, especially following the arrival on the market of a new set of rugs, depicting the attacks to the World Trade Center. In one of them, the misspelled caption ‘The teroris were nhe American’ caused controversy in the US, as it seemed to imply that the rugs’ makers were celebrating the attack.

The latest trend to be seen within the world of rug weaving in Afghanistan are the depictions of drones. Considering the ongoing program of US drone strikes in Pakistan, these new patterns are likely to pick up as a popular theme among war rugs creators and their collectors. According to an October 2014 update from the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, more than 1.000 civilians have been killed in Pakistan by drone strikes over the past ten years, around one-fifth of them children.

Read the whole story by Colors Magazine here.

For more information and to order these remarkable Afghan rugs see here.