This is a large square rug measuring 4×5 feet. It has some age and wear and was no doubt woven during the war period. A symbolic rug showing the geography of war. Also, it is a story rug. On the mountain tops can be seen Russian strongpoints and above a sky full of military aircraft, some dropping their bomb loads. In the valley are the villages, woodlands and a large lake, either Lake Zarkol by the border with Tajikstan, Lake Shiveh in Badakstan, or Lake Istadeh-ye Moqor in Ghazni province. The craft depicted may be landing craft but are probably fishing boats. The inner border shows a pattern of tanks and armoured vehicles. To the bottom left is some writing, which may be a signature and to the top right can be seen representations of the tree of life. In this rug the weaver appears to be contrasting peace and war. Place of origin of this rug is uncertain and does not seem to be the normal style associated with Baluch weavers – thus possibly from the Iran border area. A truly Afghan War rug.
I asked Graham for a brief biographical note: he is an archivist working in London and an author of many local history publications and articles. He also lectures widely on the subject. In addition, he is a writer on antiques and collectables, specialising in 20th century decorative ceramics.