The re-emergence of decoration



These three “war rugs” from the Bell Private Collection display a recent tendency to reinvent the elaborate decorative structures of the Baluch rug tradition, where the elements which signify the presence of war and armed conflict are being repressed, made almost invisible, yet remain as potent reminders of the circumstances of their makers.


These three rugs seem quite new, and are probably the products of Afghan diasporic communities now based in Pakistan. Given the past 10 years of trauma which has resulted in the semi-permanent displacement of many makers previously identified as Baluch nomads, is it time to come up with a new term for such rugs?


It now seems appropriate to identify a whole new genre of rugs with hybridised origins, where no secure and consistent links to “tradition” (in the sense of identifying a rug as “Baluch” or “Chechen” based on its primary motifs etc.) may be argued, and where in a postmodern sense, forms and subject matter are borrowed from a variety of sources.

Maybe a discussion should take place around this new category (as with these examples) “diasporic Afghan” rugs, rather than “Baluch” or other ethnic attributions?


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