Red War Rugs

"...they offer images of 21st-century realities, including our own, ABSOLUTELY worth pondering" - New York Times
The Art of Making Their Voices Heard

For thousands of years, the woman of nomadic tribes in what is now Afghanistan and its environs have been weaving rugs by hand. The oldest known and intact example of these rugs in the world is the “Pazyryk” rug dating from the 4th century B.C. (currently housed in the St. Petersburg Museum). These traditional pieces of folk art have long depicted the same deeply rooted motifs and patterns, with occasional images derived from the artist’s everyday experiences. However, about 25 years ago, all that suddenly changed. Following the 1979 Soviet invasion into Afghanistan, rug dealers began seeing drastic alterations in the content of Afghani rugs. Tanks replaced flowers, rocket launchers replaced vases and airplanes replaced abstract borders!

Thus as the artists iconography changed so did their outlets for expressing it. Those living outside of the war-torn Afghanistan can’t comprehend the reality of living in a world where the images depicted through the rugs are a part of everyday life. To the women of Afghanistan the rugs have become a way to make their voices heard and to communicate to the rest of the world what they live with everyday.

This new category of rugs has been termed “war rugs” and has sparked an underground movement in the art world. Many collectors see the rugs not only as art, but also as historical documents and a testament to the times.

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