Smithsonian Magazine on War Rugs

Attorney Mark Gold has an oriental rug in his western Massachusetts home that most people call “nice-looking” until he tells them to inspect it more closely. Then they’re enthralled, because this is no run-of-the-mill textile—it’s what is called an Afghan war rug, and what it depicts is somber and stunning: cleverly mixed with age-old botanical and geometric designs are tanks, hand grenades and helicopters. “It’s a beautiful piece in its own right,” says Gold, “but I also think telling a cultural story in that traditional medium is fascinating.”

by Mimi Kirk