Here’s a classic case of progressive abstraction, but this time we have some provenance to provide a time-frame. Both are small-scale versions of the Salang Pass landscape which celebrates the defeat of the Soviets. The best collection of large-scale, beautifully made rugs of this category is in Verona. The story which comes with the image above has been reported previously: it was found in September in Badmurghan Street, in Herat, being used as a doormat in a textiles shop.
This rug was acquired in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1994. When you look at the comparisons you’ll see that the overall image is remarkably similar, although being better made, and more detailed (even though its colours have faded) we can reasonably assume that it was made first, and that the Herat rug is a copy. By “progressive abstraction” we mean that the process of reproduction of a given design results in the simplification or evolution of forms, and a gradual reduction in the resolution of details. This can be seen in the image which compares the border design, and in the ways the helicopters become less literal in their representation.
In the case of these two rugs, the Adelaide carpet is better made, and of better materials. It has, for example, a two-tier selvidge with a more elaborate braided structure, and the border has much finer detail in essentially the same pattern.
See also how the warp in the Herat rug is a mixture of cotton and wool, as if the maker was really short of materials. From the reverse view, even the colours of the Adelaide rug are more intense and consistent than what was available to the Herat rug maker.
Apart from the fact that the Herat rug has had a harder life, and made of much poorer materials, we can safely assume that they both come from the same region, and a time frame of earlier and later in the first half-decade of the 90s is most likely for these parent-and-child examples.