From Combat to Carpet: The Art of Afghan War Rugs
January 12 - August 30
Afghan “war rugs” gained international attention following the Soviet invasion of 1979 when millions of refugees fled to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. Rug producers, provoked by decades of traders and invaders in the country, adapted traditional motifs and compositions, translating them into depictions of world maps, tourist sites, weapons, and military figures. Over the years, rug makers have continued to update popular imagery and themes to reflect current events, changing technologies, and the tastes of potential buyers. The emergence of war-related imagery in Afghan rug design has clearly aided the economic survival of area weavers and displaced craftspeople through years of armed conflict and cultural disruption.