War Rug (Afghanistan), 1990–2000
Both the Soviet Union (in 1979) and the United States (in 2001) have invaded Afghanistan. Between the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and the start of the 21st-century War on Terror came a decade of brutal civil war. Through these decades of international and civil war, Afghans have borne witness to disaster by weaving unprecedented images of battles and weaponry into their rugs.
While most traditional oriental rugs share the same layout—a patterned center field framed on all sides by a protective border—this piece (1990–2000), is typical of later 20th-century Afghan war rugs in that the field and border format has been abandoned and landscapes are drawn from multiple shifting vantage points. Television imagery, from CNN and Al Jazeera, has also influenced rug weaving. Fractured scenes with multiple images and moving lines of text appear on the rugs just as they do on television screens. Other rugs look more like propaganda posters: the weapons and vehicles are presented in large scale on a solid ground and are usually depicted so realistically that the exact model can be identified. During the Soviet occupation, Soviet weapons appeared; after the Soviet occupation, American weapons are featured.
The rug proposed for acquisition would enhance our collection of political and propaganda textiles.
This object was
It is credited
Gift of Max Allen.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 82.6 × 64.1 cm (32 1/2 × 25 1/4 in.)
Cite this object as
War Rug (Afghanistan), 1990–2000; wool; H x W: 82.6 × 64.1 cm (32 1/2 × 25 1/4 in.); Gift of Max Allen; 2009-5-2
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Virtue in Vice.