Modernising traditional motifs - and a mystery for militaria buffs …
January 8, 2007 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Rugs of War :: "The traditional knotted rugs made by the semi-nomadic Baluch people of northern Afghanistan are famous for their distinctive designs, their rich yet subdued palette and the quality of their construction and materials, which feature traditional patterns and motifs. The “war rug” is an evolution of these Baluch rugs through the inclusion of militaria and other references to the experience of war and conflict in the region. These significant changes became apparent almost immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when rug-makers began incorporating complex imagery of war planes, helicopters, machine guns, maps and texts into their designs."
posted by anastasiav (8 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What's the mystery?
posted by hyperizer at 2:02 PM on January 8, 2007

My mother (of all people) who is "into" rugs, actually had something very like one of these hanging on her living room wall for some time. Hers is better artistically, though.
posted by Western Infidels at 3:22 PM on January 8, 2007

It costs more for the wool than the labor to makes these rugs.
posted by stbalbach at 4:33 PM on January 8, 2007

Interesting post anastasiav. Since rugs are so much a part of the Middle Eastern and Asian culture, it makes sense that they would be created to express the experience of war.

Photos of kids knotting rugs. The kinds of knots used in making those rugs.
posted by nickyskye at 5:05 PM on January 8, 2007

Interesting -- good post.

I saw something like this (although involving Hmong in Laos and their part in the 'Secret War', the US vs. Pathet Lao) in Laos.
posted by docgonzo at 6:01 PM on January 8, 2007

I've got a couple of these, more likely from central and southern Afghanistan. The simplicity of the grenades and tanks and bullets makes them pretty cool.

I found them while running around L.A. installing art for people (my day job) at Baker Rugs, on La Brea. I think I got mine for about $250 apiece, about 7 x 3 feet, mine are very simple, if not crude. Thanks for the post, anastasiav, glad to see other people interested in this timely art.
posted by toma at 6:25 PM on January 8, 2007

This is one of the coolest sites I've seen in a while - I'm still working my way back, post by post, fascinated all the while. Thanks!
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:51 PM on January 8, 2007

If you want to buy one for yourself, you can do so at

(disclaimer: site owned by a friend of mine)
posted by DreamerFi at 1:56 AM on January 9, 2007

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