Category Archives: Rug Images

Images and photos of subjects depicted in war rugs and carpets.

New Rugs Posted

I have posted about 30 new war rugs. They range from really beautiful early war rugs from the 1980’s to some excellent contemporary war rugs.

Contemporary pictorial war rug showing American helicopters in Herat.

There are some new Obvious Weapons War Rugs

There are also a couple of Ten Tank style war rugs like these:

There are also some new examples of subtle weapons war rugs.

And some of the most interesting and timely new rugs are pictorial war rugs. From left to right: 2007 Sumac and pile war rug, Ghazni and Jam Minaret war rug with Coalition aircraft, and a modern city scene.

And the best of the bunch:

Please contact with comments or purchase inquiries.

Warp Depression Explained

One of the most confounding rug terms for people to understand is “warp depression.” Each pile knot is tied around two warp threads forming two “nodes” seen from the back of the rug. The two warp threads may sit in a variety of angles relative to one another. The example shown below has moderate warp depression, what we call “corduroy” in war rug descriptions.

The obvious dark lines running vertically through the photo are the shadow cast by the outer edge of the upper node. A single knot is outlined in a black rectangle.

When counting knots one counts the nodes on the back. When the warps are on the same plane, not depressed, one counts every other node (because each knot makes two nodes, one around each warp to which the knot is tied). When warps are fully depressed, one counts each visible node as one knot because the other node is depressed out of view. Dealers talk about “double knotted” rugs which is fancy way of saying full warp depression.

The key to tell if warps are depressed, and get an accurate knot count, is look at the face of a rug and find a vertical line made of single column of knots. Next look at that line on the back and see how nodes are arranged. If there is only one visible node the warps are fully depressed. If there are two nodes visible and they are on one plane the warps are not depressed at all.

Here is a WTC rug with full warp depression

Here is a Baluchi rug with minimal warp depression.

A couple of Pictorial Rugs

The rug above is notable for its Latif Chel minor borders combined with the more urban, Mashad-like, main border and pictorial rendering.

The rug below is silk on silk, and it is notable for the rendering of the purple mountain in the background, but particularly for the depictions of tigers where we usually see lions. Also notable is the bald eagle.

Please contact us for acquisition information. Also, for more information about pictorial rugs, please consider Kevin Sudeith’s book about pictorial rugs.

Globe and Mail Story about WTC Rugs

The Globe and Mail is running a story today about Ritchies’ sale of war rugs (previous post). The story focuses on World Trade Center rugs. Without understanding the context of World Trade Center rugs it is easy to mistake their intent.

It is important to remember that during the 1990’s Turkmen weavers were ethnically cleansed from northern Afghanistan by the Taliban. These persecuted Turkmen sought the uncomfortable refuge of Pakistan’s refugee camps. In the camps, these Turkmen wove, amongst other things, Soviet Exodus Rugs of several styles. Soviet Exodus grew out of Turkmen map rugs from the 1980’s rugs. Soviet Exodus rugs in turn were a direct antecedent to the small Tora Bora rugs , like these, these, and these, as well as World Trade Center rugs like these , and these. (Please see photos below for more clear pictorial demonstration.)

In short, the Turkmen weavers (who make WTC rugs) were sincerely happy to get out of Pakistan and return to their traditional homes (since the Bolshevik revolution – story for another post) in Afghanistan. They understood that their return would not have bee possible without the American invasion provoked by the September 11 attacks. World Trade Center rugs convey the unity between the Afghan Turkmen and America / ISAF to forge the new Afghanistan.

During the intervening years since 2001, the Turkmen region in northern Afghanistan is one particularly successful, bright, and under reported, region in America’s two wars. The Turkmen region between Kunduz and Aqcha (where WTC rugs originate) is (by Afghan standards) secure, peaceful, and prosperous. Unlike other weaving areas of Afghanistan where the war is currently roiling, the Turkmen region is peaceful and secure. This region has poached much of the carpet production from Taliban infested western Pakistan. There is significant infrastructure development particularly in transportation and telephony. The Turkmen area in Northern Afghanistan is a significant success for America/ISAF in Afghanistan.

The safety and security of this region is illustrated by an Afghan friend of mine who was traveling the road from Herat to Kunduz recently. As he approached Aqcha he was stopped by soldiers at a roadblock. “This road you couldn’t have crossed with a tank 10 years ago”. My friend was traveling in a small car whose trunk was literally loaded with bales of cash for purchasing carpets. The soldiers searched his car, found the obvious load of cash, and bid him on his way unmolested.

Here is a pictorial history of Turkmen map rugs from the 1980’s through the present.


1990’s Soviet Exodus:

Turkmen weavers back in Afghanistan after 2001:

Tora Bora Rugs:

And, three styles of World Trade Center Rugs (2002 examples)

Link to Colin Freeze Globe and Mail story

Comments about story

War Rug Auction

Max Allen has written with a link to an auction benefiting the Textile Museum of Canada featuring exclusively war rugs. The action is being held by Ritchies.

A significant historic building in Kabul is the Mosque of the King of Two Swords [lots 41, 43, 44]. Brandishing a sword in each hand, the legendary Islamic warrior Layth bin Qays bin Abbas, whose grandfather was an uncle of the prophet Muhammad, led a battle against the infidel Hindu forces (hence the elephants in lot 43) who were protecting Kabul’s holiest Hindu temple. The Mosque of the King of Two Swords today occupies the site of the Hindu temple. Originally dedicated in 1544, restored by King Amanullah’s mother in 1920, largely destroyed in the 1980s during the post-Soviet civil war, it has once again been beautifully reconstructed.

Ritchies database is a very nice complement to the The Textile Museum of Canada’s database.

Above and below are Al Kwaja Rugs.
Here’s the index of Al Kwaja rugs.

Above is a 1980’s , Rows of Weapons Design, like rug #915

My book features two rugs of the design above, one with the Farsi words for Amu Daria and peacock, and one featuring the Kaaba.

The rug above is the clearest example of this image. It is also the best clue yet as to what these rugs are depicting?

If you are interested in bidding, register now.

Contemporary Photos of ISAF in Afghanistan


British paratroopers Private Danny Berk, right, and Corporal Scott Evens move through a hole blown in a compound wall by a grenade, Saturday Aug. 31, 2008, while protecting a convoy. The convoy consisted of over 100 vehicles in total, some carrying equipment and a new turbine for the power station at the Kajaki Dam. It passed through Taliban positions which were hit with artillery, mortars, Apache Attack helicopters firing rockets and Hellfire missiles, and fast jets dropping precision guided bombs, which resulted in an estimated 250 Taliban casualties. (AP Photo/Sgt. Anthony Boocock, MOD ho)

Thanks John