Afghan rug

Afghan rug

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An Afghan rug is a type of handwoven floor-covering textile traditionally made in Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Many of the Afghan rugs are also woven by Afghan refugees who reside in Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In any case, Afghan rugs are genuine, often charming — and usually phenomenally inexpensive. One of the most exotic and distinctive of all oriental rug
Oriental rug
An authentic oriental rug is a handmade carpet that is either knotted with pile or woven without pile.By definition - Oriental rugs are rugs that come from the orient...

s is the Shindand
Shindand may refer to:*Shindand, Herat, Afghanistan**Shindand Air Base, north of the city*Shindand, Farah, Afghanistan*Shindand, Pakistan, village in FATA, Pakistan...

or Adraskan
Adraskan is an old town in western Afghanistan, mentioned in 13th and 14th century geographies as one of four prominent towns in the district of Sabzwar, the Green Place, which, now called Shindand . Now the town is the center of Adraskan District in Herat Province, Afghanistan. It is located on ...

(named after local Afghan villages), woven in the Herat
Herat Province
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

 area, in western Afghanistan. Strangely elongated human and animal figures are their signature look.

Another staple of Afghanistan is Baluchi rugs, most notably Baluchi prayer rugs. They are made by Afghanistan's Baloch people
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

, also in the western part of the country. Most of the weavers in Afghanistan are the Ersari Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

, but other smaller groups such as Chub Bash
Chub Bash
Chub Bash is a village in Balkh Province in northern Afghanistan.It lies on the border with Uzbekistan.-External links:*...

 and Kizil Ayaks are also in the line of weaving rugs. In addition, Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

, and Arabs
Afghan Arabs
Afghan Arabs were Arab and other Muslim Islamist mujahideen who came to Afghanistan during and following the Soviet-Afghan War to help fellow Muslims fight Soviets and pro-Soviet Afghans....

 label their rugs according to their ethnic group.

Various vegetable and other natural dye
Natural dye
Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources – roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood — and other organic sources such as fungi and lichens....

s are used to produce the rich colors. The rugs are mostly of medium sizes. Many patterns and colors are used, but the traditional and most typical is that of the octagonal elephant's foot (Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

) print, often with a red background. The weavers also produce other trappings of the nomadic lifestyle, including tent bags and ceremonial pieces.


Hundreds of Afghan American
Afghan American
An Afghan American refers to an American with heritage or origins in Afghanistan.-History and population:Afghan Americans have a long history of immigrating to the United States, as they may have arrived as early as the 1920s...

 people are involved in the Oriental rug business, and many frequent the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 in search of merchandise. Approximately 97% of Afghan rugs are transacted under other countries' names like Iran and Pakistan . However, Afghan businessmen and traders with the help from the government of Afghanistan are seeking ways to end this. Many Afghan carpet weavers work in neighboring Pakistan in that country's carpet industry where they have successfully incorporated their designs as well as using Pakistani enhanced wool.

Afghan businessmen in the United States received more than one million US dollar demands for further quality handicraft mat after all their rugs put for display were sold out. In early 2008 the Afghan carpets were put for display in another international exhibition in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, out of 1442 carpet producers from 80 countries across the globe Afghan carpet won the first position in the competition. Afghan carpets can be expensive, but the more expensive are very durable and gain value as they get older, providing they are properly maintained.

External links