Even in Paradise


Kevin Sudeith of warrug.com sends this breathtaking image in response to my recent call for the identity of the makers of the first “mosques under threat” rug. Despite the different subject matter Kevin noticed the distinctive border – see the comparison below. (I have not been able to identify the alternating figures, which we’ve nicknamed “caterpillars” and “scorpions” – but clearly this “signature style” links the rugs to the same workshop or village.)

Kevin identifies this rug as Turkmen, which he calls “Al Khwaaja”. You can see the full details and description of this rug on Kevin’s site here.

At first glance this golden rug seems to be totally distinct from the “war rug” tradition we’re discussing in these pages. It shows an apparently idyllic scene of shepherds with their flocks of domestic animals, seemingly at one with the natural world represented by wild animals and birdlife. Yet look closely. Even in this paradisical setting you will find the evidence of conflict in the form of miniature Kalashnikovs.

These rugs shock the viewer by the subtlety of their contrast between the immediate aesthetic response to the sheer beauty of form in the depiction of their subject matter – followed by the adrenaline rush of horror and fear as the implications of the contradictory elements of their subject matter become apparent. Beauty and fear is not new as a complex aesthetic response – but perhaps we do not expect it to emerge from the cauldron of modern conflict. Here’s Sabur Fahiz’ image we began with…

P.S. Readers may post a comment (by following the “No Comments” or “Comments” link below), or you may communicate or send .jpeg images by email, from which I can insert or load as posts…

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