Afghanistan has been invaded, on and off, since 300 BC — conflict is to Afghanistan what the cheeseburger is to the United States. As far as Afghan culture goes, the only thing that predates war is rug making.
It should come as no surprise then that Afghanistan would make its own version of the Whopperito™, combining an established national pastime with ethnic tradition.
Handmade since the Soviet-Afghan war, war rugs are a bizarre cultural mash-up between Afghan pictorial weaving and images of conflict. Tanks, planes, guns, and explosions are painstakingly hand knotted into wool rugs in small Afghan villages and in refugee camps along the Pakistani border. Each rug is the unique result of over a month of work by the weaver and a valuable source of income for an Afghan family it supports.
These rug designs feature the same general idea: soviet tank columns moving into Afghanistan and the small arms & vehicles that also came with them. The Soviet-Afghan war was one of the first major cases where the Kalashnikovs and tanks really started appearing on rugs. The maps depicted drew inspiration from Italian rug-artist Alighiero Boetti's famous world map rugs, which were coincidentally made by Afghan weavers.
We've separated these rugs into two main variants: the "War" map and "Conquest" map. The "War" map is typically more busy with object such as grenades and helicopters, but follows a more defined set of colors. The "Conquest" map on the other hand typically has a more ornate border with a broader set of colors. The "Jet War" map Is pretty self-explanatory, and "territories" feature a heavy influence from Boetti's world map rugs.
- Hand-woven wool yarn
- Roughly 85cm x 60cm (sizes can vary slightly due to the weaving process)
- Made in Afghanistan
- Different colors, shapes, and features depending on the weaver
Displaying Your Rug
These rugs are most frequently displayed on a wall. They can be placed on the ground, but it is more likely that they will be damaged or dirtied on the floor.
If you place the rug on the floor, please use a high-quality carpet pad underneath it to prevent slipping and unnecessary wear.
If hanging your rug, we recommend you use a rod, or a long strip of 2" hook and loop fastener to evenly distribute its weight. There are several good tutorials online, and this small step will ensure your rug doesn't sag unevenly over time.
Cleaning Your Rug
DO NOT LAUNDER
If it gets dusty or dirty, hang your rug on a clothesline and beat it with a stick like it's
300 BC 2019 AD.
If you want to be less crude about things, please contact a professional rug cleaning service specializing in artistic rugs (not carpet cleaners). The hand-woven construction and natural dyes used in these war rugs require special products and techniques to clean without permanent damage.