Source of a Narrative?


We’ve called this extraordinary image “The Story of Jahan Bahksh” which we’ve derived from the various translations of its text. (I’ll post the most complete transcription and comment on the problems of translation in due course.)

However I’ve only seen the upper register of this image once before (Plate 38 in Frembgen and Mohm – details are in the bibliography).

Subsequently, references to the ancient story of Rostam and Akvan have emerged, categorised in “modern Narratives” in the sidebar. Alternatively, search under Rostam for a list of relevant posts.


The Rugs of War Exhibition, Plate 1: “The Story of Jahan Bahksh”, c.1990s Baluch style, knotted woollen carpet, woollen warp, 2070 x 2820 mm. Collection Peter Bellas, Brisbane.

Further posts discussing this image can be found here, and also in Jasleen Dhamija’s catalogue essay.

I have written further about this rug in Artlink #49 v23 #1 (unfortunately the full text is no longer online).

One Response to “Source of a Narrative?”

  1. kevin sudeith Says:

    Hi Nigel,

    Again, I would like to reiterate what an excellent site you have put together.

    This rug, in particular, is very interesting

    About this particular image, I have seen two other rugd with a similar images of men and devils. At the moment I only have a picture of one of the two rugs.

    (cannot link to image)

    I interpret the image on this rug, which is slightly different from the image on your rug, symbolicly. The mujihdadeen is riding one devil while killing another. It is sort of a parable for the Afghan / Soviet war. The jihadi is using the perceived US devil to kill the Soviet devil. How these guys can make such a deal with a percieved devil is beyond me. Such moral relativism seems contradictory to the absolutist interpretation of Islamic ethics practiced by these jihadis.

    These rugs are definitely from the Soviet era. It shows, in very clear terms, the perceived mission of the mujihadeen, of killing the devil

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