Tues - Fri 10-5:30  |  Saturday 10-5
1 Governor St, Providence RI 02906

Let There Be Peace

The first wave of war rugs made by Afghan Baluchi villagers, were woven after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. These rugs depicted feelings of opposition by the women weavers through thematic war designs. Living in a war-torn country, everything these women saw i.e., tanks, military vehicles, assault rifles, helicopters, etc. made their way into the rugs. These first-generation rugs are identifiable because they have militarized elements on top of traditional design. For example, the first interpretation of a war helicopter was made using a standard boteh pattern (a curved feather-shaped figure), turning it on its side and weaving in rotors on the tail and body. 

There have been rumors that this was a way to pass information around Afghanistan quickly, where the rugs were used to help Mujahideen armies identify Soviet war equipment. However, these stories might very well be rumors and the rugs were simply just a small act of resistance, like artists depicting violence and war scenes of their time. While these original war rugs could be considered true folk art of the generation, they were soon being cranked out steadily and sold to Russian soldiers themselves...the irony! Designs were being repeated over and over and soon these rugs were just souvenirs. Years later, these designs would make their way back into the market when the United States entered Afghanistan after 9/11 but that’s a different story for another time folks.

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Rustigian Rugs
One Governor Street, Providence, RI 02906

(Off-street parking in the rear of the building).
Call: 401-751-5100.

Tuesday-Friday: 10am-5:30pm
Saturday : 10am-5:00pm
Closed Sunday & Monday

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