Archive for January, 2008

“Victory” rug with a twist

January 14, 2008


Here’s a rug from Kevin Sudeith’s collection (see which is a ‘victory’ rug with a twist. I confess I didn’t look at it very closely the first time around. It follows the (very) familiar format of the ‘Victory over the Soviets’ carpets which first appeared in the early 90s and which depicts the Soviet forces heading home along the highway that leads from the Salang Pass, across the “Friendship Bridge”, through Termez, and home…

But what is the 2002 date doing there? As Kevin notes, when you translate the text in Farsi you will find that what normally reads: “The Soviet forces are exiting Afghanistan” reads “The al-Qaeda forces are exiting Afghanistan”. This shows how quickly antecedent designs and motifs of tourist art can be recycled to catch a potential market, that is, the new population of ISAF and NATO forces which began to arrive in Afghanistan from 2002 onwards.

Kevin has many variants of this style on his site, which are worth careful examination to see these kinds of variations. For example, some include the dates of both the Saur revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, plus texts which (optimistically) read “international terrorists got wiped off [overthrown] from entire Afghanistan”.