Classic defeat of the Soviets image


Graham Gower sends this classic image, distinctive for the amount of text in English, and the poppy motif (at least that’s my interpretation).

This may be compared with plate # 2 in The Rugs of War catalogue. That rug may be a later generation – it shows some scrambled text and the same poppy (or vase of flowers) motif, but the poppy/flower border is clearer. This is only the second I’ve seen.

Refer also to the “scrambled” appearance of the rug in this earlier post.


Graham comments:

A very good example of a type of rug attributable to the refugee camps in Pakistan. Although commonly termed a ‘Mujahideen’ rugs they are also known as ‘Propaganda’ rugs. Strictly speaking they are more akin to mats and use a coarser type of wool and a cotton warp.

This particular rug carries a little more decorative and textual detail than others of this type. The money raised from these pieces was used to help supply arms for the Mujahideen fighters. At the bottom of the rug the weaver has shown in some detail examples of Russian weaponry, for example the DShKM (Dashika) heavy machine gun. Evidently the weaver was familiar with the types of weapons in use, and is direct in the propaganda message. This included some disjointed English, but the message is there. For example ‘USSR WANTED AFGHANISTAN PEOPLE’, ‘USSR ARMY DURING THE GET OUT FROM AFGHANISTAN’ and ‘MUJAHIDEEN LONG LIFE’.

To be seen in the busy design is the outline of Afghanistan, the tree of life and a national flag. Many rugs of this type are often found poor in design and in quality. Size 3ft x 2ft.




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