Images such as this suggest the influence of outsiders in the design, production and purpose of some war rugs. While this is a much larger issue than the specific questions raised by this example, the whole nature of the design process is something I’d like to know much more about.
The construction of this rug is among the finest I have encountered, suggesting a high degree of control over the circumstances of its production. Perhaps the outcome of an NGO initiative in a Pakistan refugee camp? The precision of the English text suggests a designer with a high degree of literacy. And, of course, the fact that the text is in English suggests, contradictorily, that the intended market was the outside world, far from the problem depicted…
The English text reads: “IF YOU SEE ONE MINE THERE WILL ALWAYS BE MANY OTHERS AROUND IT”, and, “RETURNING HOME DISCOURAGING AFGHANS FRAM 10 TO 30 MILLION MINES”
This rug is in the Sydney collection of Richard Elliott. Elliot’s role in the collecting of rugs for the Sydney art dealer Ray Hughes is described in Tim Bonyhady’s essay in The Rugs of War, an extract of which is over the fold: