An Afghan Baluchi Rug?

Today I bought an Afghan Rug; my expertise in this field is close to zero but I can tell a man made from machine made. It was hanging lazily and modestly in a dealers stall in Cardigan Market and was reasonably priced. Light and portable it was tucked under my arm and transported to its new home.

Quite excited about this rug I’ve spent a few hours researching as best I can. I’m excited not because it is rare or desperately valuable but because it’s an opportunity to pore over something skillfully and uniquely made.

I’m always drawn to rugs of this type and there are many about and I’d guess even (or especially) they’re arriving from Afghanistan by the truckload. However, usually, the antique examples I see are very worn and threadbare, damaged, restored or out of my price range.

This was definately in my price range (a computer game, or something like, would have to wait) and it was in excellent condition. Apart from its ‘one of a kind’ -ness this piece turned out to be wider at one end than the other by about a couple of inches. No matter, idiosyncratic is good.

This has a peculiarly deep indigo ground, some subtle colours in the border motifs and (once one’s eye becomes accustomed to the dizzying colour and design) it reveals itself as depicting two large vases. Four smaller vases float in attendance. The weaver has further elaborated this theme with a repeating floral and leaf border. Damn me if they don’t look like poppies though I expect to be disabused of this notion by someone less naive.

The colours in borders, reds, golds, greens, oranges and a kind of mustardy yellow, are stunning.

Compare with this image of a Baluchi Vase of Flowers pattern from the War Rugs Blog.

A last tribute to the War Rug Site: Do Not Touch!

Paul Williams

This is the blog of Paul Williams, Ceredigion resident since 1970. I am an English and Philosphy graduate of what was once known as St David's University College, at Lampeter. I played bass in Dyfed's first punk band, and living in Llandewi Brefi, had a grandstand view of Operation Julie. Eventually, after 2 years playing bass in Brighton's 256th punk band, I returned to Wales to deal in books and then antiques. I've trained and worked as a counsellor, I am a photographer, blog and web designer and I publish the annual Wales Antiques Guide. I am married and a father of one. Apart from my family, my interests include books, maps, Nikon, Yashica and Mamiya film cameras, British Culture 1935 - 1965, Poole pottery, Welsh textiles, and Poster art. My favourite movies include anything by Pressburger and Powell favourite music includes Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, and anything form San Francisco 1965-1970. I am a late convert to 'Kraut Rock'.

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3 Responses

  1. Ian says:

    Good rug but you’d better make sure Bin Laden’s not hiding in it or you you’ll have the 101st Airborne crashing through your windows.

  2. I received this rather comprehensive appraisal from Top Rug Man, David Gardner…

    Hi, Paul
    Thanks for the opportunity of commenting on your rug and congratulations on dipping your toe into the complex and sometimes murky waters of the rug buyers’ pond.
    Your piece is a recent (late 20th C) rug probably from the Herat region of western Afghanistan and is as you suggest closely related to many of the more recent war rug production in style, colouring and structure. The dyes are artificial rather than natural, the pile is wool and the warps and wefts are likely to be wool as well although some have cotton foundations. The design is based on motifs from neighbouring Persia and the southern Caucasus with a flowerhead and serrated leaf border, 2 pairs of hanging lamps, two large stylised vases with flowers in the centre and 4 large serrate bar motifs loosely based on Caucasian rug designs. These rugs are often called Beluchis in the trade although whether Beluchi weavers are involved in the production of any or all of them is not well known. These rugs have a tendency to curl at the corners and to not lie flat due to dodgy tensioning on the loom. They also are often slightly slightly mis-shaped as you have observed. Being late production and of derived rather than pure design they do not attract any interest amongst collectors or dealers, but they are bright and attractive and look good on the wall or the floor.

    That’s expertise for you…

  3. Ian Marchant says:

    This is really lovely. I don’t know if you know, but here in Presteigne, we are lucky enough to have David and Sarah Bamford, who are one of the most important rug restoration companies in the world.
    Why not bring it along next time you’re over this way?

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