Archive for August, 2006

World Map Afghan Rug

August 29, 2006

Many war rugs feature maps – the full list of our posts on the topic can be found in the Maps in War Rugs category. In general the maps are of Afghanistan, and they often feature the departing Soviet armies. However other maps are also seen from time to time, including this map of Europe rug included in our post about war rugs that feature bridges. Recently we’ve noticed this map of the world rug with a similar border of flags at The Rug Loft ebay store:

World Map Afghan Rug from The Rug Loft

While the rug doesn’t demonstrate features that would classify it as a war rug, it does present a map image which is schematic rather than topographical. Like some others of this kind (there’s one in Frembgen and Mohm) the countries of the world are signified by text within a geographic pattern. This one is larger than normal – it measures 6 ft by 9 ft (180 cm by 270 cm) and is described as follows:

Handmade Afghan War Rug with an approximate knot count of 98. Woven with a fine wool pile on a wool foundation. This rug is between 2 – 4 yrs old and is in excellent condition for its age. A rug of this size would take a single weaver nearly 3 months to 6 months to make by hand.

Many thanks to Mike from The Rug Loft for permission to use the image of the rug.

Turkmen rug dealers among treasures

August 22, 2006

Photograph by Chris Walter, 1989

This photograph, taken in 1989 by Chris Walter, is published in Oriental Rugs Today by Emmett Eiland, 2003, Berkeley Hills Books, Berkeley (p. 68). The caption reads: “Turkmen rug dealers and friends in Islamabad, Pakistan, 1989.”

But look closely at the details:

Detail - small pistol rugs
Especially the detail of the small rugs on the floor which depict a pistol and some unidentifiable text. But look on the wall in the background, and scroll down to compare with our previous post!

Detail - background rugs

The detail of the hanging rug (behind, that is, the bag hanging in front, and the rolled rug in the foreground) seems to reveal the eccentric map-like mehrab and the particular gul we find in the Leyli and Majnun rugs in the previous post! And is that a bridge in the landscape behind? Are we seeing things?

Leyli and Majnun – another interpretation

August 19, 2006


This most unusual of “prayer rugs” has previously been interpreted by the Australian artists Hossein Valamanesh and Nasser Palangi.


The second rug is from Max Allen’s collection. Now, an Iranian visual arts student from Newcastle University, Maryam Rashidi, has offered the following analysis, which adds a further dimension to some of this rug’s more ambiguous dimensions. Follow her text below:

I see the text on the left side of the image differently. The text on the right obviously says “Leyli Majnun” whose stories have been explained to some extent on your website. But on the left, I think it says “Barekat Asheghan Arefan.”… “Barekat” means “blessing” or “bliss” (as explained by others as well)… “Asheghan” means “Lovers” and “Arefan” means “theosophists (or gnostics).

(I think Mr Palangi may have mistaken the word “Arefan” with “Karavan”, which does not seem to make much sense in the context of the image).

In addition, to translate “Leili Majnun” (which has been written on the carpet) into “Leili and majnoon,” we need a “Va (=and)” (in farsi) in between the two names. But this “Va” is missing in the text written on the carpet. So, I am guessing that if we are translating “Leyli Majnun” as “Leili VA (=and) Majnoon,” we perhaps can translate “Asheghan Arefan” into “Lovers VA (=and) Theosophists”. Thus, the text can be translated as something like “Blessings be with Lovers and Gnostics” or, if we relate the texts of the two sides together, the translation could be something like “Leili and Majnoon [were/are] the blessing (or it could perhaps be even interpreted as symbols?) for/of Lovers and Gnostics…


Rugs of War blog to be part of the National Library of Australia’s permanent archive

August 18, 2006

The National Library of Australia (NLA) will be archiving the Rugs of War blog as part of the PANDORA, a project “Preserving and Accessing Networked DOcumentary Resources of Australia.”

There’s a FAQ and some general information about PANDORA at the project site, including this description of its scope:

The purpose of the PANDORA Archive is to collect and provide long-term access to selected online publications and web sites that are about Australia, are by an Australian author on a subject of social, political, cultural, religious, scientific or economic significance and relevance to Australia, or are by an Australian author of recognised authority and make a contribution to international knowledge.

PANDORA also has a search function.

We have updated our comment policy and information on how to contribute to reflect that contributions and comments will be permanently archived.

Could this be the mystery bridge?

August 10, 2006

The following photograph is by Mikhail Evstafiev, a Moscow State University Masters of Journalism graduate who served as a volunteer soldier in Afghanistan for two years in the late 1980s. He became a photographer, editor and painter after the war, and has worked for the Reuters News Agency since 1996 as a photographer and editor.

Termez Bridge, Uzbekistan

The image is from the book Afghanistan: Lifting the Veil by the Staff of the Reuters, and is captioned:

Soviet troops cross over a bridge from Afghanistan into the town of Termez, USSR, during the last day of the withdrawal of soviet forces from Afghanistan, February 15, 1989. The armoured personnel carrier flies the forces’ colours. The withdrawiang soldiers were given a warm welcome by family members and military and local officials.


Hear our voices

August 8, 2006

The United Nation’s Humanitarian News and Information Service IRIN has a feature called “Hear our voices“, which publishes testimonials of “the many people caught up in crises of one kind or another who are often written about, filmed and discussed, but seldom have the opportunity to tell their stories to the world”. It presently features the stories of three Afghans:Qadi Gul, a mother of ten and the first person in her family to become literate:

At first, my husband did not let me go to the literacy course, because he thought a 40-year-old person was too old to learn. But I have found that many women are interested to join our class after they saw me write and count.

Llandana, a widow who has returned to Kabul with her seven children after ten years as a refugee in Peshawar:

The only thing which helps me not to be disappointed is that we are not the only family to have such problems. But what is disappointing is the increasing number of families coming to live in these ruins, which alarms [and indicates to] me that the situation is getting worse. You will not find a vacant ruin in these surroundings.

The final story is that of Khan Ali, a prisoner awaiting trial:

We are 59 people in one cell. Some of us have no beds. We have no basic facilities, no ambulance, no proper medicine nor health care. We are not provided with any means of vocational training or something to educate us here.