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Gund Gallery at Kenyon College


Show title: Warp: War Rugs of Afghanistan


Curator: Natalie Marsh


Warp (noun): 1. the longitudinal thread or yarn held in tension on a frame or loom; 2. a twist or distortion of the shape or form of something.


Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and continuing today, traditional Afghan rug weavers have incorporated stylized representations of political figures, Kalashnikovs, flags, maps, architectural landmarks, tanks, drones and ammunition amid colorful floral and geometric patterns; designs reflecting a reality familiar to the people of this multi-generational war-torn region. In 1971 the Italian conceptual artist Alighieri Boetti (1940-1994) began commissioning Afghan weavers to produce his now famous series of map textiles originally inspired by his collected newspaper illustrations of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War (1967). Years later, during the Soviet invasion and rise of the US-backed Mujahideen, numerous war rug artists began to reuse Boetti's visual mode in order to portray political maps of Afghanistan and neighboring regions overlain with representations of munitions, soldiers, fighter jets and historical people and events. Designs from the 2000s feature collapsing World Trade Center Towers behind peace doves and conjoined US and Afghan national flags. Still other rugs situate orderly rows and columns of identical tanks or guns enclosed within floral borders and encircled by decorative bands of bullets. Obama-era rugs have begun to include images of a new weapon: the drone. These and other iconographies are lifted from Western propaganda materials, sourced from major media outlets, and culled from personal experience. This exhibition presents a selection of rugs that simultaneously document the history of a region while standing as a complicated testament to a still viable expressive and contemporary artistic tradition impacted by unusually diverse economic and political pressures.


The Gund Gallery exhibitions and programs are made possible, in part, by the Gund Gallery Board of Directors and the Ohio Arts Council.


Opened 2017-05-26 Closed 2017-10-08

War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1,
Older Map Afghan War Rug (Listed as rug 1021 in Miami U show),
74 x 99 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 16,
ALSO RUG 1013 Red Cicatu Afghan War Rug also 1013,
99 x 183 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 23,
AK with Long Pistol Afghan War Rug,
81 x 114 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 29,
Paghman Lake Monument 1984 (listed as 1017 in Miami U show),
87 x 132 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 39,
Abrash War Afghan War Rug,
101 x 168 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 49,
IN Pictorial War Rugs book(exhibited at Miami University Art Museum)Vertical Herati Pictorial, Large Afghan War Rug (listed as 1402 in Miami U show),
124 x 213 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 57,
Mario Brother's War Rug Also Rug ID # 137 ,
180 x 180 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 78,
Two Ewer Zakini.,
107 x 198 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 96,
3 Large Vase, 6 Small Vase with Small Tanks,
109 x 201 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 109,
World Trade Center #2,
61 x 81 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 114,
All Over Tanks,
104 x 190 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 138,
Black Tank Border w/ Long Fringe and Neon Diamonds,
84 x 292 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 272,
1990 Dated Prayer War Rug w/Afghan Map,
81 x 127 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 288,
Abstract WTC 9/11 Afghan War Rug #2,
61 x 74 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 395,
Buried Land Mines War Rug,
84 x 124 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 405,
Alexander the Great Citadel Prayer War Rug with Three Helicopters,
84 x 124 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 424,
Green Soviet Exodus,
63 x 81 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 490,
(exhibited at Miami University Art Museum)Blue Tank War Rug with Women in Burqas,
101 x 193 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 517,
5 Tanks Brown,
104 x 155 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 534,
4 Ducks and 2 Palaces Tower at Jam War Rug,
87 x 132 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 536,
Blue War Rug with Women, Birds, and Small Tanks,
87 x 140 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 544,
Four E.T. War Rug,
89 x 145 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 553,
World Trade Center War Rugs,
61 x 81 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 555,
War on Terror War Carpet,
63 x 81 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 750,
Red Washed Sofreh,
124 x 124 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 752,
7 Ewer, Blues and Golds, Mid 1990s,
122 x 201 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 754,
Two Figure Banana Rug,
107 x 193 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 757,
River Landscape prayer rug, early 1980s Exhibited Miami U,
91 x 162 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 760,
Soviet Exodus Rug,
61 x 1554 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 761,
Miami U British flag Tora Bora rug,
61 x 84 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 762,
Orange, Red, and Blue Big Rifle War Rug,
122 x 183 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 765,
Vegetable Dye Handspun wool AFghan War Rug,
109 x 165 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 771,
Kharghai Soviet Exodus,
71 x 101 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 772,
(exhibited at Miami University Art Museum) NFS WRONG PHOTOS,
89 x 66 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 774,
(exhibited at Miami University Art Museum)Soviet Hand, Red Ground,
69 x 87 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 778,
Taliban Era Mashad Style World Map Rug,
127 x 178 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 779,
Herat Mosque with Armor,
84 x 137 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 780,
Small Dragon Ali Kwaja,
119 x 203 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 789,
Dostum Standing,
61 x 71 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 796,
Woman on Lion in Corner (Nigel Selection),
188 x 290 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 803,
(Denison University Art Museum) Ma'sud with Silk Foundation,
59 x 84 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 894,
Old Red Rug: Two figures pre 1989,
56 x 83 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 897,
(exhibited at Miami University Art Museum) Brown (washed) Saph (Runner Dimension Prayer Rug),
81 x 353 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 900,
Armor Border Prayer Rug,
76 x 141 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 916,
Late 1980's Landscape,
74 x 122 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 923,
Kabul City Scene from Airport,
87 x 124 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 943,
Very Fine Rug with Band Imagery,
87 x 148 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 948,
(listed as 775 in Miami U show) Full View Minaret at Jam war rug,
198 x 297 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 957,
Prayer War Rug,
87 x 144 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 964,
Dual Columns of Tanks and Helicopters,
91 x 152 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 985,
Progenitor Baghlani War Rug with Autumnal ColoRS,
92 x 183 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 988,
Hamid Karzai Rug,
59 x 69 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1004,
World Map Baluchi Rug with Mir Border,
165 x 274 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1006,
Nightvision F16 War Rug,
109 x 199 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1016,
Motorcycle War Rug with Horsemen,
112 x 193 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1070,
MIG War Rug,
81 x 142 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1071,
Bomb Falling on Column War Rug,
94 x 130 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1074,
Massoud Wagireh (weavers sample) Rug with Afghan Map,
74 x 96 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1081,
Ali Khwaja Pomegranate and Mosque Rug (Plate 39 Vol. 1),
190 x 287 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1085,
Minbar Design Prayer Rug,
132 x 208 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1089,
Three Panel Herat Workshop,
122 x 193 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1093,
15th Century Queen Gowhar Shad Mausoleum and Minarets,
101 x 201 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1107,
Afghan Kazak Afghan Map War Rug - War Against Terror,
117 x 123 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1109,
George O'Bannon's Gul i'Birjista,
114 x 178 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1112,
NFS - Pink RPG War Rug,
109 x 173 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1114,
Mint Green Flower War Rug,
94 x 135 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1125,
Red War Rug with Blue Selvedge,
63 x 79 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1127,
Two Small Linked Helicopter War Rugs,
30 x 69 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1131,
Red AK-47 Rug with Two Helicopters and Handgun,
53 x 101 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1137,
Parachute Medallion War Rug,
109 x 173 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1165,
Long Blue Three Drone Rug With Heavy Abrash,
92 x 150 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1166,
Red, White, And Blue Reaper Drone Rug,
61 x 101 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1167,
White Predator Drone Rug,
61 x 99 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1308,
Amman Ullah Khan Rug with Silk,
84 x 142 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1361,
Giant Iraq War Rug,
127 x 244 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1380,
Friendship Flat Weave (Exhibited at Miami University),
127 x 193 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1382,
Devils Head War Rug,
99 x 152 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1386,
Turkmen Sumac (exhibited at Miami University Art Museum) Formerly 26. ,
112 x 173 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1421,
Green Amman Ullah Khan Rug,
91 x 148 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1424,
Pictorial Sumac,
127 x 178 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1463,
Double Minaret War Rug,
87 x 155 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1601,
Caucasian Design, so called Chechen, Afghan Rug with War Motifs,
160 x 221 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1602,
Vase of Flowers Sumac Rug with Helicopter Border ,
114 x 206 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1637,
First War Rug,
99 x 160 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 1700,
Multi-Person Prayer War Rug with Planes and Busses,
168 x 282 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 2003,
(exhibited at Miami University Art Museum) ,
114 x 185 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 2017,
Horsemen and Tanks (size approximate),
112 x 208 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 2023,
Three Building War Rug,
122 x 201 cm
War Rug shown at Exhibition
ID#- 2025,
Devils Head War Rug #2,
94 x 152 cm