Oriental Rugs and Rug Weaving in Afghanistan
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 caused perhaps 3 million Afghans to flee to Pakistan, and with the refugees came a flood of rugs. After the Russians left there was a long period of warlord vs. warlord chaos, followed finally by the coming of the Taliban. There is still unrest in the country in the wake of the ouster of the Taliban by U.S. forces. Afghans are returning to their villages and cities in substantial numbers now, but many Afghans still prefer the relative safety of the border areas of northwestern Pakistan to their homes in Afghanistan. There are still goods to select in the rug bazaars of Peshawar, but there is risk for American rug buyers in the border areas. We have not visited Peshawar or Quetta for many months.
For *lots* more information about Afghanistan, go here.
Rugs from Afghanistan divide generally into rugs woven by Afghan and rugs woven by Balouch weavers. Good quality Afghan rugs are made in weaving centers in northern Afghanistan like Herat, Daulatabad and Kunduz; very good quality Balouch scatter rugs come from near Herat.
SIZE: small scatters and runners to 10' x 14' and larger. Utilitarian weavings like door surrounds, saddlebags and animal trappings still appear.
STRUCTURE: usually wool warp and weft with medium-thick nap and firm texture.
COLOR & DESIGN: modern Afghan rugs are descendants of Turkoman types woven generations ago in what is now Turkmenistan. Colors are usually red with ivory, black, and (sometimes) orange or green accents. Designs often employ rows of guls or small medallions.
Typical Rugs from Afghanistan….
All-over design with Yomud guls.
Wool on wool / 225 knots/sq. in.
7'6" x 11'
| BALOUCH prayer rug
Wool on wool / 81 knots/sq. in.
3'6" x 6'4"
Wool on cotton/ 49 knots/sq. in.
5'9" x 8'3"
Afghan DOOR SURROUND (top left)
| "WAR RUG"
Wool on cotton/ 144 knots/sq. in.
1'11" x 2'7"