Sunday, March 13, 2005

Art as Reflection of Life: Afghan War Rugs

Similar to Persian carpets, Afghanistan has its own genre of hand-woven rugs. Forbes published an article about the war rugs:

At first glance they look like the rugs woven for hundreds of years by the tribal peoples of Afghanistan. But instead of traditional abstract motifs such as water jugs, chickens, blossoms and horses, these rugs depict tanks, paisley-shaped helicopters, jets, hand grenades and Kalashnikov rifles.

Swordsmen on horseback had been the most martial images found on tribal rugs, up until the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. But the invasion gave Afghans an abrupt introduction to modern warfare. As Afghan men rose up to fight, women (for nearly all rugs are woven by women) began weaving these new sights into their rugs.

Kevin Sudeith is a Afghan rug distributor and owns the website War Rug.

For nearly two years after the terrorist attacks he couldn't get any rugs at all from Afghanistan. After trade resumed, he found a whole new genre of war rugs had arisen. On woolen fields where Soviet weapons used to appear now stood U.S. armaments. A $400 rug shows an F-16, an Abrams tank and the slogan "Heat to War." Others, clearly made for sale to Americans, proclaim death to terrorists and "Long live U.S. soldiers."

The most disturbing pieces commemorate the World Trade Center attack. One has planes labeled American and United crashing into the towers, but also features a white dove carrying an olive sprig in is beak ($600). When Ronald O'Callaghan, another dealer, first saw a WTC attack rug, he says, "I told my suppliers I never wanted to see another one of those again." (He's since changed his mind and is selling them.)


Blogger Sarah said...

I think some of those are really beautiful. However, we're getting a puppy soon, and puppies and $2000 rugs don't mix!


12:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home