Archive for the ‘Notices’ Category

Max Allen Collection

May 31, 2011

A selection of the Max Allen Collection of war carpets from the Textile Museum of Canada is currently on show in the exhibition Battleground at University of Philadelphia Art Gallery. Anthropologist Professor Brian Spooner (the back of whom you see here) is one of the foremost authorities on the cultural economy of pre-war carpets in the region.

Penn Museum coverage here. And more here.

What to do about missing archival images

February 19, 2010

You may have noticed that some of the older posts on the site don’t show the images that are discussed; unfortunately they did not migrate over when we moved and upgraded the blog from it’s old home on the university servers.

Fortunately the site complete with images has been preserved by the National Library of Australia’s Pandora Archive:

For images from April 2004 until 16 July 2007 use this link.  That page has a drop-down box to access archived posts up until that point; you need to return to the main page to access the archives box as it does not appear on each entry.

Unfortunately, images from 17 July 2007 until November 2007 are not presently available, although Pandora has archived images from December 2007 to July 2008, and from August 2008 until June 2009.

From July 2009, images are available here at

room for debate?

June 25, 2009

See this extraordinary photograph in context at the NYT.

Woven Witness: Afghan War Rugs at San Jose

August 27, 2007

Catalogue cover page

I was delighted to be invited to the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum, in San Jose, California, to participate in a weekend of discussions about war carpets. Two of the three exhibitions – a selection from the Collection of Patricia Markovich, of Oakland, California, plus the travelling exhibition  “Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory” (curated Ariel Zeitlin Cooke, and written with Marsha MacDowell and available here), were of relevance to the study of Afghan war carpets. In addition, the Museum had the Afghan Freedom Quilt on display, and in this catalogue has published (in both English and Farsi) the personal histories of its makers. The stories which emerge in all of these exhibitions and texts remind us of the depths to which the circumstances of war drives its victims, and yet how powerfully evocative are the forms of textile art and communication which result. The catalogue is published by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 520 South First Street, San Jose, California 95113-2806. Tel 408.970.0323, The catalogue includes revised versions of the essays first published by Nigel Lendon and Tim Bonyhady in The Rugs of War, 2003.

The Rugs of War on the Academic Blog Portal

October 30, 2006

The Academic Blog Portal is a new wiki set up to simplify searching for blogs that are written by academics. (You can find a definition of a wiki here; the best known is Wikipedia.)

We’ve listed this blog – it’s he first in the Art History section – and created this wiki page describing the project and linking to the blog.

Rugs of War on national breakfast radio program

October 18, 2006

Nigel Lendon was interviewed yesterday morning on Fran Kelly’s ABC Radio National Breakfast program.

For the next week, you can hear the interview through this link.

Some more detailed directions are underneath the fold.


New York exhibition opening: “Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory”

September 17, 2006

Readers in the New York area will be interested to know that the exhibition “Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory” is showing at The Puffin Room, 435 Broome Street, New York, until mid October. The exhibition will tour throughout the US until 2008 – a list of locations can be found by scrolling down here and the excellent catalogue is available online.


Kevin Sudeith ( and Curator Ariel Zeitlin Cooke in the exhibition.

Ariel writes:

the exhibition features a dazzling display of war textiles–Afghan war rugs, Hmong story cloths, Chilean and Peruvian arpilleras and South African memory cloths, all of which bear witness to the artists’ experience of modern warfare. This is a wonderful moment for me, as I have worked on the project for more than 15 years.

The exhibition has been reviewed in the online version of Hali magazine.

There are some photographs from the exhibition opening with distinguished guest Hmong story cloth artist Pang Xiong Sirirasathuk Sikounat at Kevin Sudeith’s blog.

One of the most striking war rugs (among many of interest) was the prayer rug from the collection of Bruce Baganz. You can find other images of the exhibition pieces on Kevin’s blog…


An update …

September 5, 2006

We’ve uncovered some more images – and perhaps the original model – for the “Mother Afghanistan” rug exhibited by former US Army Ordnance Officer Tatiana Divens in 1993.

More details are in the original post, “Anti-Soviet Socialist Realism”.

The work of many hands …

September 4, 2006

We’ll soon be seeing some travelling posts from Nigel, who’s just started his first overseas trip under the Australian Research Council grant that funds the Rugs of War project.

In the meantime, here are some fascinating images we’ve found through the work of visual artist Christoph Büchel. With Giovanni Carmine, Büchel exhibited an installation titled “PSYOP – Capture their minds and their hearts and souls will follow” at the Sharjah Biennial 7 held in the United Arab Emirates from April – June 2005.

A related artists’ book called PSYOP Post-9/11 Leaflets, edited by Buchel and Carmine was published in 2005 by Win With Words in an edition of 2000, and is still available. It includes a fascinating propaganda leaflet used by the Coalition forces during “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan in 2002. The leaflets were dropped by air. This one is printed in both the Dari and Pashtu languages, and reads as follows:


Front: “Many threads make one rug”


Back: “Together you can make one Afghanistan!”

The same back image was also used with at least two other front images which conveyed a similar intention. Firstly this one, which reads “Brick by brick …”

Brick by brick

And secondly this one. The original text is in Dari and Pashtu, and the reverse again reads “Together you can make one Afghanistan.”

The Taliban is trying to divide you

Büchel has also used war rugs themselves in his installations, in this work from 2005:

Lada and rugs

Fliegender Händler (trans from German: “Flying trader”)
Car (Lada), rugs, speakers, different materials

And most recently at the Reg Vardy Gallery, part of the University of Sunderland in the UK. The following description is from the Gallery’s website:

Opening on May 23 at Reg Vardy Gallery will be a faithful recreation of the Sunderland hotel room Mr. Büchel stayed in during his preparations for the exhibition. Displayed in this room as if by a traveling salesman are imported hand-woven rugs from Afghanistan commemorating the events of September 11, 2001. The woven imagery appropriated into these rugs is derived from leaflets dropped on Afghanistan as part of the coalition forces’ psychological operations of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Mr Büchel is represented by Hauser & Wirth, whose London gallery will show a major exhibition of his work later this year. We thank him for his kind permission to reproduce these images here.

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.