Afghanistan is a melting pot of Central Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Nomad tribes in the country quickly picked up the art of rug making from the Persians and made it their own. Today, Afghan textiles are world renowned, and many shawls and blankets are known simply as afghans in the Western world. How did the Afghans get such a reputation for textile weaving? You’ll have to look to the nation’s small-scale rug-making industry for answers.
Hand-knotted Afghan floor covers are some of the most unique Oriental carpets in the world. While some reflect traditional Persian patterns, most of them depict the emotions and history of the tribal rug weavers who made them. Rug weaving is passed down within families from father to son, so floor coverings that Afghans make today are made similarly to the way Afghans made them centuries ago.
One of the most distinctive Afghan floor covering patterns is the Afghan war rug. Afghanistan has been embroiled in wars with the Soviet Union and the United States for decades. These wars resulted in many Afghans fleeing to neighboring countries as refugees. During their time in exile, these talented craftsmen weave carpets that show raw elements of war such as helicopters, tanks, and grenades. The long-lasting carpets tell the world of the carpet makers’ struggles during this part of the nation’s history.