Archive for July, 2007

The passing of Zahir Shah

July 24, 2007

President Hamid Karzai has announced the death of Muhammad Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan, who returned from three decades of exile to bless his war-battered country’s fragile course toward democracy. He was 92. See the following link for news and obituary.

Max Allen reviews Enrico Mascelloni: Beyond the West

July 16, 2007

We are pleased to publish the following review of Oltre l’Occidente – Rappresentazioni estreme nei tessuti orientali (2006), which has been the subject of earlier discussions on Rugs of War. Max Allen is the founding curator of the Textile Museum of Canada where, since 1975, he has curated more than 100 textile exhibitions. His review follows:

Exhibition catalogues are sometimes works of scholarship. This one isn’t. Instead it is a work of narrative imagination and polemics, and as such it is a far more striking object than most of the textiles within it. Aside from the fact that everything is from “The East” – as if that meant anything – there is no coherence to the collection, nor any discernible reason for assembling it.


more about war rug dates

July 3, 2007


Here’s the map of Afghanistan war rug referenced in earlier discussions. Thanks to Enrico for allowing us to publish it. It’s plate 55 in his catalogue and the date attributed by Enrico is 1960s/70s, following his argument in the comments below. It was purchased by Enrico in 2006 in Mazar-i-Sharif. The date woven in the rug is 1368/1989 (or 1990) and (thanks to Maryam Rashidi) the text in Farsi reads “made by Afghan immigrants, Islamic Republic of Iran”. The Islamic Republic of Iran was founded in 1979. So by our reasoning it was made some time between 1979 and 2005. The devil is in the detail…


a post-postmodern map of the world

July 3, 2007


Here’s an example of a “map of the world” rug where there’s no argument about the date! Except maybe it’s a little too prominent! See our earlier controversy about the attribution of dates to war rugs. In the 1980s and 90s many of the most interesting war rugs (and map rugs) were imported to London by the late Reuben and his son Yuda Ambalo. By Yuda’s account this example was the only map-of-the-world rug they actually commissioned (it’s huge, 3m x 5m) and when it arrived in London it was a great disappointment. Understandably. Beautifully made, but aesthetically morbid. The text in Farsi reads: “ordered by Ambalo, London, 1996”.