AFGHAN CARPETS



Afghanistan is situated in the south of Asia and is bordered by China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tadzjikistan and Turkmenistan. It is a very fruitful land, even though the main part of the country is covered with mountains. It has always been populated mostly by pastoralists and this explains the large availability of low-cost raw materials for carpet-making. These nomadic tribes namely used the wool of their sheep or camel hair to weave their rugs.


Islamic mosque in Afghanistan

Sheep farming, wool and camel hair



Afghanistan has a tradition of weaving carpets that goes back thousands of years and has been passed down from generation to generation. This ancient manufacturing art was practiced both by men and women. The original weaving technique consisted in sitting on the ground holding the handicraft on one’s knees, rigorously without a loom, using iron or wood needles to weave and decorate it. The result was a very soft carpet characterized by bold colors, especially dark or brick red.

Carpets were coloured with natural dyes which were usually found in villages and towns, extracted from roots, from copper and iron sulfate.


 

Afghan women that produce natural pigments to color the wool

 


Afghan carpet with geometric patternsAfghans are decorated with geometric patterns which embody meanings that pertain to Muslim religion..


The decorative figures are inspired by traditional eight-shaped motifs and are divided by Daghestan star stripes. Motifs are repeated all over the field letting the whole composition achieve amazing rhythm. The decorations resemble those of Sumaks with large octagonal patterns, diamond-shaped designs, the so-called elephant’s foot prints and stars wrapped with a dark blue and black border.


 

Typical Afghan Rug

 


Afghan carpets are woven using the Persian knot and look very similar to Turkmenistan carpets..
Nowadays, the Khal Mohammadi and the Afgan Aqche are still the most popular variants, named after the cities where they are manufactured.

The production of Afghans falls into three main classifications: the Afghans, fairly common and popular in western countries, the Beluci carpets, made by nomads that settled on the border between Iran and Afghanistan in the Khorassan district, and the Herats, named after the city of Herat.
When the style is taken into consideration,
Afghans and Balucis are included in the Turkoman group, whereas Herats are inspired by traditional Persian rugs. The Afghan carpets are characterized by a pure style and top-notch craftsmanship.