Sedona AZ – Helicopters, Machine Guns, Grenades… My, What Stories Rugs Can Tell!
WHAT THE HECK IS A WAR RUG!?
Ruthie here with Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care here in Prescott AZ and I wanted to share a rug that we have in our shop with you today. This rug is what’s known as an Afghan War Rug (dealers and collectors call them “Baluch” rugs), and is certainly far from the floral and primitive figurine designs that are typically found in Afghan rugs. I’ve covered what the figures in a rug mean in other articles – a deer symbol represents well-being, for instance. Today, I thought I’d take a moment and discuss how symbols in area rugs change to reflect the world around the weaver.
Afghan War Rugs first started showing up in the early 80’s after Russia began its occupation of Afghanistan in 1979. Tanks, bazookas, helicopters, and machine guns were woven into the wool rugs to show daily life in a region occupied with war. Weavers of these rugs (mostly women and children) reflected the way that military presence became part of the country’s landscape in their work. It should come as no surprise that weavers use what is familiar to them as inspiration for the intricate patterns in their area rugs. It’s no wonder that they would choose to show images of war in their rugs!
No one is entirely sure what message the weavers are trying to send by weaving these symbols, but something that collectors (and myself) can all agree on is that these little rugs are interesting. They also sadly tell a lot about what is most prevalent in the lives of the weavers. Weavers are known to choose designs that they believe will attract buyers, so I also suspect that weavers may have adapted these motifs to attract soldiers to buy these rugs. It’s not uncommon for soldiers to bring home mementos of their travels and experiences, so why not a war rug? It certainly is original!
Originally these rugs were marketed toward Russian soldiers and later American soldiers that have occupied the country. From there, they’ve made their way overseas and into markets here at home. At Arizona Oriental, we have even seen rugs that depict the World Trade Center towers and the devastation that we experienced here at home. Even our own country is being commemorated in these war rugs.
Pretty flower and primitive figures are still my favorite, but how can anyone not take notice of the war rugs and the history carefully knotted one strand at a time? It certainly makes you feel something in regards to how these weavers live their lives day to day
Hoping you found this bit of information interesting, till next time, enjoy your beautiful art for your floor and remember a clean rug is a rug that can last you a lifetime!
Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care serves Sedona, Prescott, Prescott Valley, and much of the Northern Arizona areas. We meet the highest standards in professional cleaning of area rugs with rug wash specialists having earned the highest training, including certification as WOOLSAFE FIBRE CARE SPECIALISTS through the WOOLSAFE ORGANISATION. Such extraordinary certification ensures the area rugs of our client’s receive the utmost in care.
Call us for more information on cleaning fine area rugs and quotes at 928-445-1718, visit our website at www.ArizonaOriental.com, or stop by Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at our rug washing facility at 565 EZ Street, Prescott, AZ 86301 (pick-up and delivery also available). (05-02-17)