This war rug is very unusual. A mirror-like landscape has been depicted on the top and bottom of it. Between mountains, trees, flowers and plants a line of tanks advances and some helicopters can be seen. There are two buildings with Cyrillic letters. I have asked a Russian friend, but they cannot read what is written and they have suggested that perhaps the Cyrillic alphabet has been used to phonetically transcribe the native language (Baluch? Pashto? Dari?). The rug is woven with a large number of knots, which is why such a meticulous design could be made and the wool is very soft.

Material: 100% hand-spun sheep wool   

Size: 227×148 cms

Origin: Herat Baluch tribe from Afghanistan

Date of weaving: 1980s

The Baloch or Baluch are an Iranian people who live mainly in the Balochistan region, located at the southeasternmost edge of the Iranian plateau, encompassing the countries of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. There are also Baloch diaspora communities in neighbouring regions, including in India, Turkmenistan and the Arabian Peninsula.

The war rug (Persian: فرش جنگی farš jangi) tradition of Afghanistan has its origins in the decade of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 and has continued through the subsequent military, political and social conflicts. Afghan rug-makers began incorporating the apparatus of war into their designs almost immediately after the Soviet Union invaded their country. They continue to do so today in the wake of the United States’ 2001 invasion of Afghanistan which ousted the Taliban government of Mullah Omar but has failed to bring an end to violence in the country. The rugs produced in response to these events are among the world’s richest traditions of war art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The terms Baluch and war rug are generalisations given to the genre by rug dealers, commercial galleries, collectors, critics, and commentators. The distinctive characteristic of these rugs is their capacity to convey their makers’ experiences and interpretations of the circumstances and politics of war and conflict in the region.

Since the withdrawal of the USSR, the same themes and subjects have been reused and remade. Additionally, after 9/11 the events of that day were recorded in carpets, and more recently – since 2015 – drones have appeared as subject matter.

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SKU: A2212124