Afghan Rugs

The history, politics and culture of Afghanistan have always been characterised by interactions among the many tribes who inhabit this forbidding, mountainous region. Tribal areas straddle borders with neighbouring countries like Iran, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. In terms of weaving, therefore, there really are no ‘Afghan’ rugs, but rather Baluch, Mashwani, and Aimaq rugs, among many others. These rugs tend to use dark colours, with reds, browns and blacks predominating, and mostly geometric patterns, along with some Turkmen or Turkic motifs. Many rugs from this area are typically made using various combinations of weaving techniques, so that it is not unusual to find, say, kilim flatweave, weft wrapping (soumak) and knotted pile in the same textile item.