It is not uncommon during the course of any given day Rug Rag is scanning the internet for interesting and fun blogs. On one of our more recent surf-sessions, an article caught our eye under the title "Bizarre Rugs and Crazy Carpets" on a popular website. Naturally, we felt compelled to take a look...
Among otherwise mundane subtitles such as "oriental rug Mouse pads" and "T-Shirt Rug," we found a piece on "Crazy Terrorist Rugs." We were slightly dismayed to see a such a well-known company allow themselves to be represented by a basically ignorant posting (as seen at the bottom of this page in quotation). In our current socio-political climate, there is quite a negative connotation with the word 'terrorist'; this is certainly not a word we want associated with carpets. More than just a undesirable nuance, we are talking about an integral misrepresentation of a historically important carpet group. In an effort to set the record straight, or at least give a slightly more educated reflection on these carpets, we've written a bit below. If you have more information, or we have misrepresented in anyway, please feel free to let us know.
Afghan war rugs were originally woven as a reaction to the Soviet invasion of 1979. These rugs were not only used as a responsive coping mechanism of an oppressed people, but mainly a way to record and recollect a collective feeling during a historic period. While many of the Afghan war carpets we see on the market today depict these types of Soviet scapes, there are others which show more current hostilities such as 9/11 depictions (which may be credited to leaflets which had been dropped in the Afghan region by the U.S. as War propaganda). It may seem like these carpets are "terrorist" or at least supportive of terrorist combat, in reality the motives are commercial with the prospective consumer being the western market. To judge these carpets, and therefore the people who have woven them, by their weapons (such as tanks, AK-47's, grenades and helicopters) and aggressive imagery would be unfair. Such depictions were not only originally a reaction, however more so now have evolved into what satiates market demands. Think of all the camouflage clothing that is en vogue: While the motives may be commercially driven, these carpets actually offer a unique cultural perspective as well as an artistic portrayal of historically important events. More recently, the Textile Museum in Canada is featuring an entire exhibit of Afghan War Rugs called "Battleground: War Rugs From Afghanistan."
Actual blog entry as found and quoted on an unnamed website: "Crazy Terrorist Rugs These carpets are from the soviet era, but they'd probably make a popular comeback in the homes of some crazy terrorists. Who
the hell has an interest in carpet weaving AND guns?"
For a great article detailing the history of these carpets please see "Rug-of-War" by Mimi Kirk on the Smithsonian website: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/war-rugs.html?c=y&page=1