Rugs of War
March 27, 2014 3:19 AM   Subscribe

Afghan war rugs Traditional rug-making techniques meet contemporary political imagery. See also the 'Rugs of War' project.
posted by infini (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The sad thing is that I remember this story from the mid 80s, when there was a contemporary war and they were making these rugs.

That's enough war for those folks.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:56 AM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, they had one of these from that time frame on Antiques Roadshow. Artists create what they see around them. *sigh*
posted by Melismata at 4:44 AM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

The War on Rugs.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:56 AM on March 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is interesting, I'd like to see more (and larger photo representations!).
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:57 AM on March 27, 2014

The Penn Museum had a small exhibit of some of these a few years ago-- there's a Flickr folder that has some more pictures (not that big though) and some installation pictures in case you want to see them at scale. It's mentioned briefly on the Rugs of War site but with the wrong university name; the ArtDaily release it links to has a bit more background.

It was really striking to be surrounded by so many decades of war rugs, for all those different wars. You can trace the evolution of flight and guns through the years. Very impressive work but hard to think about.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:06 AM on March 27, 2014

flapjax, try the blog (linked as "rugs of war" project)
posted by infini at 6:15 AM on March 27, 2014

posted by NoMich at 6:22 AM on March 27, 2014

I can remember seeing an incredibly striking set of photographs of these at about the end of the Soviet war there, maybe in National Geographic? I wish I could see an exhibit of them in person at some point.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:33 AM on March 27, 2014

Not to diminish the artistry of these rugs, and the tragic history of Afghanistan post 1970, but I fully expected these to be flying carpets with 90 mm gun turrets jerry-rigged on and used to take down soviet aircraft. Afghanis can be quite crafty.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:51 AM on March 27, 2014

A friend bought me a small rug when he visited the UAE in the early 2000s. The rug has pictures of tanks on it, but the other interesting thing about it is the pseudo-english text woven into it - kind of like how people will be interested in the shape of chinese characters without knowing what they mean.
posted by ianhattwick at 7:39 AM on March 27, 2014

Wow, this is amazing, thank you for the post!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:18 AM on March 27, 2014

I saw one of these at an estate sale last month and got really interested in its background; it seems that a lot of them are made and marketed for American soldiers cum tourists these days, hence the English lettering, but they were definitely a local way to understand and represent the horror surrounding Afghan communities into their culture in the past. This is a nice resource detailing the different varieties produced.
posted by Theiform at 11:28 AM on March 27, 2014

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