Pictorial War Carpets

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Traditional Designs Showing Martial Motifs in Historical Context
Afghan Rugs featuring Landscape and Figurative Designs
Al Buraq Bolescht, Bag, or Pillow Afghan Rug
Al Buraq Bolescht, Bag, or Pillow
This a bag with a pile front and a plain woven back which typically would be used as a seat cushion on the floor. The pile side shows a single blue Al-Buraq with red wings and tail. The mythic figure sits in the center of a beautiful brown field decorated with flowers. A classic Turkmen border frames the composition.
Better photos towards the bottom. Also, please note there is some crusty schmutz on one corner which sits only on the surface of the rug.

The pile face of the bag, or bolescht, is backed with a plain plain weave face, which is attached at the selvedges. The pile and plain weave are one textile which is folded, then the sides are sewn up to form a pillow.
ID: 2084

$450

26 x 19 inches
66 x 48 cm
Washed Double Landscape with Towers War Rug Afghan Rug
Washed Double Landscape with Towers War Rug
Important early landscape rug from a good collection, but a dealer who shall remain nameless, 'tea washed' it.

This rug features a landscape with two large gridded minarets, possibly the Minaret of Jam. Smaller buildings sit throughout the rug with tall towers while a road snakes down the center. At the top and bottom of the rug sit faded subtle areas with mountains packed with helicopters and planes.
Although this rug has been washed, the bright orange and red are still vibrant and the overall color scheme of the rug is really nice.
There is a small section of repair in the bottom left side of the fringe which isn't very well done craftsmanship wise.
ID: 2064

$2500

38 x 71 inches
96 x 180 cm
Ahmad Shah Ma'sud Praying Rug Afghan Rug
Ahmad Shah Ma'sud Praying Rug
Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Ma'sud is depicted praying in the center of this rug on a dark field. The blue in his clothing is marled with white, while the orangey red in his face is made with alternating checkered knots.
Small medallions float to the right of his head. A pattern of red and blue planes creates a textural line at the top and bottom of the composition.
ID: 2043

$1500

35 x 56 inches
89 x 142 cm
2005 Signed Giant World Map Rug<br> </b> Price on request Afghan Rug
2005 Signed Giant World Map Rug
Price on request

This large world map rug features very detailed and well drawn depictions of the countries of the world labeled in english. The map features latitude and longitude lines, as well as the names of the oceans. Surrounding the map is a border composed of the flags of the world again labeled in english. The rug is signed at the top in a red box.
Below the map the continents of the world are featured in their own squares (not in proportion). The blue used for the water in the rug is a great abrash and gives a lot of depth.
There is a large orange stain in the center of the rug.
ID: 1701

$

107 x 123 inches
272 x 312 cm
Two Plump Horses Rug Afghan Rug
Two Plump Horses Rug
An Afghan horse rug inspired by Iranian design-- three tall figures stand in the center of the rug flanked by flocks of chickens. The top and bottom of the rug sport plump brown horses ridden by dark figures. Four red lions mark each corner of the field.
The main border is comprised of red and black square medallions unique to this type of rug, bordered by two black and red swirling guard stripes.
Some red dye bleeding in the main field of the rug. Very small areas of moth damage are visible in the top right corner, bottom right and left corners, and top center of the rug. Quarter-sized spot of moth damage in the bottom center.
ID: 1634

$375

33 x 58 inches
84 x 148 cm
Two Horsemen with Birds Rug Afghan Rug
Two Horsemen with Birds Rug
This blue rug features two men riding atop very detailed horses. Another man in a brown robe kneels in the center while two birds sit beside him. The negative space of the field is composed of geometric leaves and vines with several birds spaced throughout.
The border carries on this same geometric motif with green and brown leaf-shapes and diagonal stripes running through.

In late 2021 we have begun to offer rare rugs collected to illustrate how war rugs fit into Afghan rug history. This rug is an example: the seated figure comes from rugs illustrating Omar Khayam stories, and the horsemen hearken back to the oldest of rugs, the Pazyrik.
ID: 1633

$775

45 x 78 inches
114 x 198 cm
Amanullah Khan War Rug with Orange Jacket Afghan Rug
Amanullah Khan War Rug with Orange Jacket
A red, brown, and light orange rug with unique turqouise accents depicting the Afghan king Amanullah Khan who ruled from 1919 - 1929. He poses in orange military garb flanked by potted flowers, text, and other symbols.
He is bordered by a chain of turquoise and red flowers on a light orange background, which is then bordered by blue and brown patterns with a thick red background.
ID: 1615

$2500

36 x 56 inches
91 x 142 cm
Spare Afghan Map Rug with Herati Border (Exhibition History) Afghan Rug
Spare Afghan Map Rug with Herati Border (Exhibition History)
The red field in this rug is uncommonly spare. This rug has one very rare feature. Two blue beads are sewn into the selvedges: on the left hand selvedge, about half way between top and bottom, and on the right selvedge about one foot from top. The border is very traditional and a type not often found on Afghan province map rugs. There are no war motifs in this rug.
ID: 1492

$475

32 x 48 inches
81 x 122 cm
Clock Tower War Rug Afghan Rug
Clock Tower War Rug
This rug is very unusual. The wool is very good. The design is unique. It appears to be an adaptation of designs like This war rug #1465 or Plate 36 in Kevin Sudeith's first book about war rugs.. The large clock is unusual relative to similar designs. The white of the tower from which the clock hangs is understated. The foreground of this rug is abstracted, and there are war motifs like helicopters and rifles, scattered throughout the foreground.

The structure of this rug is reminiscent of rugs like war rug #26. It is possible that both of these rugs represent the work of the same weaver some 10 years apart.

The washing of this rug was not totally successful, for one can see some red discoloration in the lighter tans and whites, please see photos. Also note the light purple is an old fashioned analine dye, and significantly tip faded. Most synthetic dyes used in carpets today are no longer analine, but my understanding is that the particular purple in this rug is analyne. Condition notes aside, this is an interesting rug.

One of the subtle, and important, ways I judge rugs is by their weight. The best rugs have a density lacking in more poorly made rugs. Its not so much about knot count, because this rugs knotting is not particularly fine, but when I finished inventorying it and laid it back on the pile I noticed it had that density that speaks so well of rugs.
ID: 1488

$2249

35 x 55 inches
89 x 140 cm
Clock Tower with Helicopters 1 War Rug  Afghan Rug
Clock Tower with Helicopters 1 War Rug
This is a new design in the past few years. Nigel Lendon, Max Allen and Kevin Sudeith have debated the monument shown. Sudeith maintains that it is a recently built monument built in a traffic circle in Herat, Afghanistan. Several rugs in our most recent shipment show this monument from several angles. This rug, and one similar example (link), are the best. The helicopters in the top right corner are unique to these two carpets. The helicopters ad excellent scale to whole rug. The emerald green in the cars in the foreground unusual material and doesn't feel like wool. The same material is marled into the first green and tan line on the top edge of the foreground roadway. The variety of marled colors give depth to pictorial space in this landscape rug. The geometric renderings of buildings is particular to these pictorial rugs from western Afghanistan.


Simply put, this rug (and its mate) are the best contemporary war rugs. This rug is great design with timely imagery.

For more information on pictorial war rugs please order Kevin Sudeith's book on the subject.
ID: 1484

$699

33 x 56 inches
84 x 142 cm
Vine Border Afghan Province Rug with Blue Field (Exh.#26) Afghan Rug
Vine Border Afghan Province Rug with Blue Field (Exh.#26)
Afghan province map rug showing some roads. Dated clearly 1385 which is 2007 in western calendar.
ID: 1470

$375

33 x 53 inches
84 x 135 cm
Six Portraits of Amman Ullah Khan Afghan Rug
Six Portraits of Amman Ullah Khan
This carpet was in excellent new condition, but it now has areas where leather juice has gottne stuck to the rug. Needs to be washed.
This rug features a classic Mushwani border and colors. /the repeating Amman Ullah Khan design is reminiscent of Persian Baluchi designs.
ID: 1381

$1250

36 x 61 inches
91 x 155 cm
Original Humvee and Apache War Rug: Small Iraq Rug (Exhibition #26) Afghan Rug
Original Humvee and Apache War Rug: Small Iraq Rug (Exhibition #26)
The drawings of the humvee, the .45, and the Apache helicopter, which may be found on many war rugs available in 2022, originated in this small group of rugs from 2004. The prototype was this rug, and it does not include the humvee, .45, or the Apache. The true progenitors of this design are the silk map rugs showing provinces from the 1930's. There is a giant rug in the presidential palace in Cairo made by the same makers. More images of silk Iraq rug, price on request.
These Khargai Iraq rugs were begun before the tragic death of Sergio Vieira de Mello in Baghdad. The rug shows an Iraq map surrounedd by American weapons. The border designs is the same as Afghan map Khargai borders on earlier war rugs. The attack helicopters and humvee are remarkably well drawn. These are the first Afghan map rugs not depicting Afghanistan. The vocabulary is constant but the subject has changed. These rugs demonstrate the degree to which war rugs have become an established vernacular in Afghan art.
ID: 1358

$475

48 x 69 inches
122 x 175 cm
1950's Aman Ullah Khan Rug with Falcons Afghan Rug
1950's Aman Ullah Khan Rug with Falcons
This is an older Aman Ullah Khan rug, the figure is extremely well proportioned relative to the newer versions of this style. His face has a gentle expression and his shoes are extremely shiny. A bright orange streak traces the side of his head. Text appears in the upper corners.
Around 2000 Warrug acquired an entire collection of Amman Ullah Khan rugs from Afghanistan of which this rug was a high point, despite its condition. The classic Mushwani colors and border are indicative of the tribe who wove the rug.

Notably there are two large falcons at the bottom of the rug. "The Sport of Kings", falconry is a fitting thing to depict on such a rug. Marled blues appear next to the birds' feet.
Unfortunately there have been some repairs to the rug, mostly in the top near and in the figure's face.

The combination of the honored king with the falcons is highly unusual in either political portrait rugs, King rugs/a>, or Amman Ullah Khan (AUK) rugs.
ID: 1141

$950

45 x 70 inches
114 x 178 cm
Dated (1994) Afghan Map War Rug  Afghan Rug
Dated (1994) Afghan Map War Rug
http://www.iconophilia.net/the-afghan-modern-rkd/ https://rugsofwar.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/the-afghan-modern-its-anonymous-authors-and-the-question-of-collective-agency/ This is a beautiful Afghan Map rug featuring the different labeled provinces of Afghanistan with bright colors. Two potted plants sit above and below the map and collections of brown and tan flowers are scattered throughout the negative space. Small planes sit inside some of the provinces, solidifying this as a war rug.
ID: 1121

$3999

46 x 81 inches
117 x 206 cm
World Map Rug with Shortened Names Afghan Rug
World Map Rug with Shortened Names
This rug features a detailed map of the world, complete with names of each country, oceans, and labeled latitude and longitude lines. The eastern end of Russia and New Zealand are featured twice on the map, once on the right side and again on the left where it wraps around.
Typical of these world maps, the border consists of the flags of the world, however most of the names are abbreviated with '...'.
ID: 1113

$1750

46 x 64 inches
117 x 162 cm
Red Amman Ullah Khan War Rug <br></b>Price on request Afghan Rug
Red Amman Ullah Khan War Rug
Price on request

This red Amman Ullah Khan rug shows the figure wearing a navy blue and orange military uniform and holding a yellow cane. Filling in the negative space around the figure are jets, flowers, plants, camels, and some sort of small animal.
There are four similarly sized borders each with their own pattern of geometric shapes.
ID: 1072

$

30 x 59 inches
76 x 149 cm
Very Early Afghanistan as Grenade with Pin Pulled Afghan Rug
Very Early Afghanistan as Grenade with Pin Pulled
This is an early example of this important design, but it has several areas of repaired damage.

A very interesting view of possibly the Kabul airport and the surrounding cityscape. In the center of the rug is a curiously grenade-like shape, almost like a grenade with its pin pulled. Planes and helicopters sit around the center on a blue background, and the top and bottom thirds of the rug depict an almost mirrored view of the surrounding town. The border includes some possibly Greek-inspired blue, olive, and white designs.
A few spots on this rug have been repaired-- one area in the bottom center, and another in the very center of the rug.
ID: 917

$575

32 x 47 inches
80 x 118 cm
Two Panel Land Mine War Rug (Like Pictorial Book Plate 20) Afghan Rug
Two Panel Land Mine War Rug (Like Pictorial Book Plate 20)
This rug was purchased in new condition of probably contemporary productionin 2002. The two panel representational shows abstracted trucks, trees, buildings, and landmines. This land mine rug, reproduced in Sudeith's Pictorial War Rugs book is from the same production and era but less abstracted. Six trucks drive across the compostion on a blue road. A cutaway shows an underground view of the road above containing abstracted land mines. On the botoom, five trucks drive across this road, with a blue tree between each. Six buildings sit in the background on a red field.
The main border is a red, blue, and maroon pattern of alternating pound symbols, triangles, and diagonal shapes on an off-white field. The guard stripes are a black and red alternating diagonal cord-like pattern flank the main border.
Check out the similarities with this rug.
ID: 471

$975

33 x 53 inches
84 x 135 cm