Afghan Carpets

Afghan Rugs Khowst Province MusicForTheEyes

Afghan Carpet and Textile Vendor. © Afghanistanmatters_flickr

Jim Senner, who wrote a recent blog for us on Afghan rugs, provided the following remarks on three categories of Afghan carpets: (1) Afghan Baluch,  (2) Mushwanis and (3) Heratis.

Afghan Baluch Rugs

Baluchistan is a lightly populated area varying between unwelcoming mountains and desert, spread over the western third of Afghanistan, Eastern Iran and over a third of the area of Pakistan.  Baluchi carpets tend to be small (prayer rug size or slightly larger, relatively loosely woven and multi-hued.

Although most carpet books do not go beyond the designation of Baluchi to identify carpets produced in this area, they can be sub-categorized down to the country, tribe, province and sometimes village of production, such as Chakhansur (pencil box design and others), Sarhadi, Sang Chuli, Farahi, Taimani, Dokhtari Qazi (daughter of the judge) and Kawdani.

Mushwani (Meshwani/Mashwani/Mushvani) Rugs

The Mushwani are a tribe located south of  Herat near Shindand.  They are sometimes incorrectly identified as a Baluch tribe, but they are of Pashtun origin.  Pashtuns do not have a tradition of weaving pile carpets, but this tribe is an exception; their products are quite unusual, as they weave a kilim and pile mix which is sometimes referred to as “embossed” or a compound weave.  Many of their rugs are small and square.  Their designs all appear to be geometric.

The Herati Rugs

Herat is situated in one of the richest and most fertile provinces.  In the 15th century, Herat was the artistic, architectural and intellectual center of the Islamic world.  Today, Herat continues as a center of traditional artistic skills.

Turkmen (originally from Turkmenistan), particularly from the Tekke, Yomud and Ersari tribes, are weaving rugs in Herat, which some believe to be the finest produced in Afghanistan.  They often follow the traditional patterns and are red in color.

The very best are called “Mauri” (from the old city of Merv in Turkmenistan).  Mauri can mean both the Tekke “gul” (central design), as well as the level of quality.  They are woven with many knots, with up to 500 knots per running meter.  The best use vegetable dyes.  They are silky and firm, expensive but worth the money.

Many More

Jim’s comments are merely an introduction, as Afghan rugs also include: Kunduz carpets, Qarqueen carpets, Barmazid  carpets, Daulatabad carpets, Aq Shah/Aqcha carpets, Andkhoy carpets, Alti Bolaq carpets, Sulayman carpets, and Maimana carpets.  If you have more questions you can contact Jim at : kabuljim@yahoo.com.

Additional Information

For more information about Afghanistan, visit our section on Rug Countries.

2 Responses to “Afghan Carpets”

  1. Afghan rugs are genuine, charming — and usually phenomenally inexpensive. So if you want a rug for your home that is cheaper but looks elegant then afghan rugs is a good choice.

  2. Laurie Hill says:

    do you have runner that are 22-23 ft in length/ 30 in wide? looking for a red color. I like the afgani or moroccan styles. thanks

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