Weaving Culture through the Afghan rug

Arya
Posted February 20, 2019 from Afghanistan

Recently, I participated in a huge cultural conference held by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Kabul, coordinated by various artisans across Afghanistan. This is orchestrated to value to the craft of rug weavers who represent the country’s cultural heritage through their work. Afghanistan has been famous for its elaborate rugs, which have been quite popular in both local and international markets too, namely China and Dubai.

National craft represents the country’s essence in an accurate manner, and also portrays Afghan history to the rest of the world. Artisans usually represent their feelings and emotions through their craft. For example, the cold war affected Afghan craftsmen, who draw symbols onto their rugs, to represent an Anti-Soviet resistance. Although no specific dates are attributed to the creation of these rugs, the craft is said to date back to around 300 or 400 years. Each province in Afghanistan has its own specific characteristic and design in making rugs.

UNESCO has declared the cultural importance of the Afghan rug by stating that it upholds and represents Afghanistan’s culture in an accurate manner. The functionality of the rug dates back to tribal living, wherein each tribe had to fulfill its own needs, using animal fur to create belts and rugs to give warmth. Gradually, the complexity of design began to increase, as artisans grew more and more skilled.

The rugs are not only a commodity, but also show strong devotion, hard work, efforts and the talent of the women and men crafting them collaboratively inside their homes. The elegance of these rugs is inseparably linked with Afghani culture and the flavor it brings to the fore.

According to one of craftsmen named Hassan, the artisans prepare the best pieces that reflect identity, and pass on these marvels from generation to generation. Afghanistan is not a rich state, but its residents have big hearts, and do not hesitate to gift these luxurious rugs as legacies to friendships and marital relationships. The most unique gift has been the post-conflict rug from 1984, which was gifted to the UNESCO office in Afghanistan as a souvenir.

Cultural assets are thus symbolic of the emotions that a culture brings to the table as well. The rugs also find use in homes, as decorative pieces. In my home too, rugs and elaborate pillows adorn guest rooms. Our guests were always amazed at the vivid colors that covered our home. They bring a deep internal resonance in me for Afghanistan’s rich cultural past.

It always makes me proud to use these rugs not only as commodity, but also as beautiful facet of our culture.

Comments 13

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Corine Milano
Feb 20
Feb 20

Beautiful, Arya - thank you for sharing about this art form and tradition in your country. They indeed are beautiful.

Arya
Feb 20
Feb 20

Welcome as per my promise, I would be writing about my country every day!

Corine Milano
Feb 20
Feb 20

I love it! Can't wait to read your next one!

I'm curious, Arya, how did you find World Pulse? Your passion and commitment to changing the narrative about women in Afghanistan is so inspiring and exactly why this platform exists!

Arya
Feb 20
Feb 20

I feel so comfortable here, and know that someone will read my piece of writing no matter what I feel, think of it. I would have someone to admire or correct me as my sisters. Thanks for your love, I appreciated.

Hello, Arya,

Thank you for unveiling Afghanistan’s art and culture on this platform. I am fascinated with the story behind how these rugs were weaved. I respect women who spend hours everyday to create these masterpieces.

Beautiful story!

Arya
Feb 20
Feb 20

Thanks for reading deary, I love your each and every comment. it gives me strong motivation to write more about my country and represent to my sisters from another mother.

You’re welcome, Sister Arya. I’m drawn to your stories because it’s my only glimpse of Afghanistan’s beautiful side. Yes, please keep posting!

Arya
Feb 21
Feb 21

it is about food only one dish which is extremely famous.

Wow. Looks delicious! Mouth-watering, even. Afghanistan surely has a lot to offer to the world. Thank you for sharing!

Jill Langhus
Feb 21
Feb 21

Hi Arya,

Thanks for sharing this fascinating and insightful article on the origination and symbolism of these beautiful rugs. I wonder how the colors get chosen then for each region or artisan, then?! Or can the colors change for each artisan as long as they have the same symbol implemented into each design?

Jensine Larsen
Feb 21
Feb 21

Beautiful Aya, we are so lucky that you have found us and are sharing your stories with us. We welcome you to World Pulse - your new home in the world of sisterhood wherever you are!

Arya
Feb 21
Feb 21

Thank you Jensine, yeah I feel a strong connection with everyone here. I love your comments and admire them.