Coeval? Not quite…


Semi 2 450

Max Allen’s definition of coeval production is something like: examples of carpets that are clearly made within the same environment, possibly by the same people or persons, with or without an antecedent, and with no visual or material distinction to suggest one is the antecedent of the other. In which case, what do we call comparisons such as this pair?

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The first was bought online from a Pakistan dealer two years ago. Which means it could have been made anywhere, including Pakistan. The second was bought last month in Herat. While the major elements of the design shows a strong correspondence (the bus with the same luggage on top, the tank above the truck, the shape of the helicopters, even the inverted tanks at the top of the rug) the colours, weave structure, accuracy of detail, and the presence or absence of motifs like the handgrenades etc, all speak of different origins and traditions. Of course the conundrum is that we have no idea when the “new” rug was made – it could have been sitting in a stack in a dealer’s warehouse for fifteen years, which is stylistically (and logistically) possible. In which case the first rug could be a copy of a copy of a copy, and therefore another example of “progressive abstraction”…

Blue Semi 450

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2 Responses to “Coeval? Not quite…”

  1. max allen Says:

    What I would call them, to answer your question, is two rugs with a lot of weapons on them.

    It seems likely that no one person knows where BOTH of them were made. Or when. Or why. It’s possible that a person or two may know where ONE of them was made but not both (for example, the person who wove it, or the workshop boss) but finding that person – as Nigel discovered – is remarkably difficult. That’s because every link in the supply chain has a vested interest in concealing the previous link.

    It is astonishing, isn’t it, that not a single photograph has been published showing ANY war rug actually being made. It’s as if they had fallen from the sky.

  2. Luca Brancati Says:

    Very, very interesting! If I may of help, the second rug – the one found by Nigel in Herat – is from the photo very similar to mine Zakinis made during the 80s. The colours and the kind of stilization are the same, and also the structure. What impress me is the adaptation of a rug with “bad” colours (this was the reputation of war rugs in the business) to a rug with “natural” colour good for today’s market. In an old Oriental Rig Review issue were published a photo made in a refugees’ camp showing a young boy with an half “kalashnikov” rug on his small and very rudimental loom. I’ll post it later.

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