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Textile Museum Features Afghan War Rugs

"Battleground: War Rugs From Afghanistan," an exhibition to be held in Textile Museum of Canada.  War Rugs are carpets which are woven primarily by refugees during the Soviet invasion in 1979 to the end of occupation in 1989.  However, Mr. Max Allen, co-founder, curator and donor of these rugs stated: “It’s hard to tell what a particular rug is supposed to mean when its history is hidden and its maker is unknown."  Although this genre of rug does have a weaving history post Soviet occupation, some of the more sought after rugs were woven in 1980's. 

While flowers, palmettes, scrolling vines and other design elements flourish in traditional Persian Design carpets, Afghan War Rugs depict the struggles of the times.  large imagery of war are woven into the rugs such as AK-47s, pistols, helicopters, grenades, tanks, and other weaponry.  The rugs range in quality, which can often be as low as 25 kpsi upwards of 300 KPSI.  Sometimes dates, maps, and broken English writing are woven into the rugs to augment descriptions war.

The rugs are actually being donated by the co-founder of the textile museum, and CBC radio producer Allen.  The collection is one of the most diverse known for this type of carpet.  Some 120 rugs will be on display, which will be running April 23rd, at 6:30 for Opening Reception and quarter to Seven, Opening Remarks.  The Battleground exhibit will be on display through late January, 2009.


Textile Museum of Canada 

Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue
Toronto ON M5G 2H5 

Phone 416.599.5321

View the full article as reported by the Canadian Press


Additional Reads: on War Rugs

Barry O'Connell on War Rugs as seen on

Ron O'Callaghan on War Rugs as seen on

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