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!