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Oriental Carpet Design

December 17, 2007


Oriental RugsI am sure most archaeologists have an interest in tribal rugs as often the designs to be found on them draw on ancient beliefs that pre-date Islam.  The contemporary weaver might be unaware of the symbolic meanings of these ancient patterns that they are weaving into rugs today and often mixes these motifs with new designs. 

An example of this is the iconography used by Afghan weavers when telling the woven story of the invasion of their country by Russian troops in 1979 and combines traditional symbols with images of tanks and Kalashnikovs (see rug below).

This provides us with a glimpse into the ancient and modern past of these resilient people who have endured for centuries while watching their way of life gradually and sometimes brutally eroded by modern governments who do not value nor care to understand their tribal ways.War Rug

This book by Jim Ford who has worked most of his life in the carpet industry and years ago travelled extensively around Iran with my good friend Abbas Rahimi (the one smoking in the picture below) carefully taking notes and gathering evidence. 

It is not a coffee table book which has pictures of only the most beautiful of rugs but it is a great reference book which covers most tribal groups and gives pictorial examples and concise explanations of a typical rug produced by each tribe/vilage/town. 

Buy it from:  in the Oriental Rugs section

I spent fourteen years dealing in carpets and this book was the one I referred to most.

Priced under twenty pounDiscussing Rug Designds it is good value for money considering the research that has gone into it.

That is me on the right and Abbas across the table in Tehran discussing a commission which involved designing some large rugs for a customer.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. elementaryteacher permalink
    December 17, 2007 8:27 pm

    I thought this was an extremely interesting post. I see the tanks, machine guns, and helicopters. My Middle Eastern husband looked at this rug and found it interesting, too!

    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas (in the Middle East)

  2. pasthorizons permalink*
    December 17, 2007 9:20 pm

    The original ‘War Rugs’ are the most interesting as they obviously depicted an immediate response to the invasion. Today, they are still being made but only because there is a commercial market for them.

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