Afghan Rugs

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How old is the rug making tradition in Afghanistan?

    The tradition of rug making in Afghanistan comes from a rich and ancient history that spans thousands of years, making it one of the oldest and most enduring crafts in the region. While precise dating of the earliest Afghan rugs is challenging due to the perishable nature of textiles and the lack of written records, archaeological evidence and historical accounts provide insights into the antiquity of this tradition.

    Archaeological excavations in Afghanistan have uncovered fragments of textiles dating back to the Bronze Age, indicating that weaving and textile production have been integral to Afghan culture for millennia. These early textiles likely served both practical and decorative purposes, with intricate designs and patterns reflecting the artistic expression of ancient Afghan societies.

    The art of rug making in Afghanistan flourished under various civilisations that inhabited the region throughout history. From the Persian Empire to the Greek, Kushan, and later Islamic dynasties, Afghanistan served as a crossroads of cultural exchange, where diverse influences converged to shape the country's artistic traditions.

    One of the most significant contributions to Afghan rug making came with the arrival of the Turkic and Mongol tribes in the region during the mediaeval period. These nomadic peoples brought with them the ancient art of carpet weaving, introducing new techniques, designs, and motifs that would leave a lasting impact on Afghan rug making.

    By the 15th century, Afghanistan had emerged as a centre of rug production, with skilled artisans producing exquisite carpets prized for their beauty and craftsmanship. The tradition continued to thrive under the Mughal Empire, which ruled over parts of present-day Afghanistan and India, further enriching Afghan rug designs with Persian and Central Asian influences.

    During the 19th century, Afghanistan experienced a resurgence in rug making, spurred by increased demand from international markets and the patronage of wealthy merchants and nobles. This period saw the emergence of distinct regional styles and techniques, as well as the incorporation of natural dyes and high-quality wool sourced from local sheep breeds.

    Despite periods of political turmoil and social upheaval, the tradition of rug making persevered in Afghanistan, passed down through generations of artisans who preserved and refined their craft. Today, Afghan rugs continue to captivate collectors and enthusiasts worldwide, serving as lasting expressions of Afghanistan's cultural heritage and artistic legacy.

    The rug-making tradition in Afghanistan is ancient, dating back thousands of years to the Bronze Age. This enduring craft has evolved over time, influenced by diverse cultural and historical factors, yet remaining a vital and cherished aspect of Afghan culture and identity.

  • How many different kinds of Afghan Rugs are there?

    Afghani rugs showcase an impressive spectrum of styles, reflecting the diverse cultural heritage and regional influences across Afghanistan. While providing a comprehensive list of all Afghani rug types proves challenging, numerous prominent varieties boast unique characteristics and historical significance.

    Among these, the Baluchi rug, crafted by the Baloch tribes of western and southern Afghanistan, stands out for its bold geometric patterns and nomadic allure. These rugs, often small to medium in size, feature vibrant colours and motifs inspired by tribal traditions, making them prized for their rugged beauty and cultural significance.

    Equally notable is the Kazak rug, originating from the northern regions bordering Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Kazak rugs are celebrated for their striking geometric designs and vibrant colour palettes, often adorned with motifs such as medallions, diamonds, and stylised animals. Renowned for their durability, these rugs serve both functional and decorative purposes, reflecting the rich heritage of the Kazakh people.

    The Khal Mohammadi rug, named after the Khal Mohammadi tribe of northern Afghanistan, is revered for its deep red hues and intricate repeating patterns. Crafted using high-quality wool and traditional hand-knotting techniques, these luxurious rugs exude timeless elegance and are treasured for their exceptional craftsmanship.

    Hailing from the Aqcha district in northern Afghanistan, Afghan Aqcha rugs are esteemed for their fine craftsmanship and delicate designs. Featuring intricate floral patterns, vine motifs, and soft earthy tones, these rugs capture the pastoral landscapes of the region, showcasing the artisans' mastery of their craft.

    While not exclusive to Afghanistan, Turkmen rugs are prevalent in the country's northern regions, where Turkmen tribes historically produced these distinctive carpets. Characterised by bold reds, deep blues, and geometric designs, Turkmen rugs often feature motifs such as guls (medallions) and octagonal shapes, reflecting Turkmen tribal traditions and cultural heritage.

    Additionally, Afghani rug enthusiasts can explore a plethora of other varieties, including the plush-piled Gabbeh, the elegant Feraghan, and the intricate Ziegler rugs influenced by Persian designs. Shirvan rugs captivate with their geometric patterns and vibrant hues, while Ersari rugs showcase bold tribal motifs, each telling a unique story of craftsmanship and tradition.

    Furthermore, Afghani artisans produce Arts and Crafts rugs, characterised by intricate craftsmanship and designs influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, adding another layer of diversity to Afghanistan's rich rug-making heritage.

    In summary, Afghani rugs represent a rich tapestry of styles, embodying the country's artistic legacy and centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship, with each variety offering a unique glimpse into Afghanistan's cultural mosaic.

  • How are Afghan Rugs made?

    Afghan rugs are crafted using traditional hand weaving techniques that have been passed down through generations of skilled artisans. The process of making an Afghan rug is a labour-intensive and meticulous endeavour, requiring precision, patience, and expertise.

    Wool Selection: The process begins with the selection of high-quality wool, which is sourced from local sheep breeds in Afghanistan. The wool is prized for its durability, resilience, and ability to absorb natural dyes, resulting in vibrant colours and long-lasting rugs.

    Wool Preparation: Once the wool is acquired, it undergoes several preparatory steps to ensure it is clean, smooth, and ready for weaving. This includes washing the wool to remove impurities, carding or combing it to align the fibres, and spinning it into yarn using traditional spinning wheels or tools.

    Design and Pattern: Before weaving begins, the rug's design and pattern are meticulously planned and drawn onto graph paper or sometimes directly onto the loom. Afghan rugs feature a wide range of motifs, including geometric patterns, floral designs, tribal symbols, and intricate borders, each reflecting the cultural heritage and artistic traditions of the region.

    Loom Setup: Afghan rugs are woven on vertical or horizontal looms, which are typically made of wood and can be portable or fixed. The warp threads are stretched tightly across the loom to create the foundation of the rug, while the weft threads are interlaced through the warp to form the rug's structure.

    Hand Knotting: The most time-consuming and skilled aspect of rug making is the hand knotting of the pile. Artisans use a specialised knotting technique, such as the Persian or Turkish knot, to create the intricate patterns and designs of the rug. Each knot is tied by hand around pairs of warp threads, with the density of knots determining the rug's thickness and durability.

    Dyeing: Once the weaving and knotting are complete, the rug may undergo a dyeing process to add colour and depth to the design. Natural dyes derived from plants, minerals, and insects are often used, giving Afghan rugs their characteristic earthy tones and vibrant hues. Artisans may employ traditional dyeing methods, such as boiling the wool with natural dye materials, to achieve desired colours.

    Finishing Touches: After the rug is fully woven and dyed, it undergoes several finishing processes to enhance its appearance and durability. This may include trimming the pile to create an even surface, washing the rug to remove excess dye and impurities, and applying a protective finish or fringe to the edges.

    Quality Control: Finally, the completed rug undergoes rigorous quality control inspections to ensure it meets the highest standards of craftsmanship and quality. Skilled artisans examine the rug for consistency of weave, colour accuracy, knot density, and overall aesthetic appeal before it is deemed ready for sale or export.

    Afghan rugs are made with meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship, employing traditional techniques and natural materials to create exquisite works of art that embody the rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions of Afghanistan.

  • What is an Afghan Rug?

    Original Name: فرش افغانستان، قالی افغانستان  | Alternative Name(s): Afghan Carpet

    Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China and Pakistan are all neighbours in Central Asia. Sunni Muslims make up about 75% of the population. Native Afghans (Pashtun) and Turkmen tribes, the majority of whom came to Afghanistan in the 1920s, weaving rugs. Ersari, Tekke, Yomud and Sariq are among these tribes. In Afghanistan, the Baluchi and Uzbek peoples produce various rugs. Piled rug weaving is dominated by pieces with traditional geometric motifs.

  • What materials are Afghan Rugs made from?

    Afghan rugs, renowned for their quality craftsmanship and timeless beauty, are primarily made of natural materials that contribute to their durability, softness, and vibrant colours. The key components used in crafting these rugs include:

    Wool: Wool is the primary material used in Afghan rug making and is sourced from local sheep breeds in Afghanistan. Afghan wool is prized for its superior quality, characterised by its softness, resilience, and ability to hold vibrant colours. The use of wool contributes to their durability, making them suitable for high-traffic areas in homes and offices.

    Natural Dyes: Afghan rugs are dyed using natural dyes derived from plants, minerals, and insects. These dyes produce rich, earthy tones and vibrant hues that are characteristic of Afghan rug designs. Common natural dye sources used in Afghan rug making include madder root, indigo, pomegranate skins, walnut husks, and cochineal insects. The use of natural dyes adds depth and authenticity, while also being environmentally friendly.

    Cotton: In some cases, Afghan rugs may contain cotton fibres, typically used for the warp threads in the rug's foundation. Cotton is valued for its strength and durability, providing stability to the rug's structure. Cotton warp threads also facilitate the weaving process, allowing artisans to create intricate patterns and designs with precision.

    Silk (Occasionally): While less common than wool and cotton, silk fibres may be used in certain Afghan rugs, particularly in high-quality or luxury pieces. Silk adds a luxurious sheen and softness to the rug's surface, enhancing its visual appeal and texture. Silk rugs are prized for their fine craftsmanship and exquisite beauty, often commanding higher prices in the market.

    Metallic Threads (Occasionally): Some Afghan rugs may incorporate metallic threads, such as gold or silver, to add shimmer and decorative accents to the design. These metallic threads are typically used sparingly and can highlight specific motifs or borders within the rug's pattern.

    Overall, Afghan rugs are crafted using a combination of natural materials, including wool, natural dyes, cotton, and occasionally silk or metallic threads. These materials are carefully selected and skillfully woven by artisans to create rugs that are not only visually stunning but also durable, environmentally sustainable, and culturally significant.

  • Which patterns are typical of Afghan Rugs?

    Afghan rugs are renowned for their diverse range of intricate patterns and designs, each reflecting the rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions of Afghanistan. These patterns often draw inspiration from a variety of sources, including tribal symbols, geometric motifs, floral designs, and religious symbolism. Some typical patterns include:

    Geometric Patterns: Geometric motifs are prevalent in Afghan rugs, reflecting the influence of tribal and nomadic traditions. These patterns often feature repeating geometric shapes such as diamonds, hexagons, triangles, and squares arranged in intricate arrangements. Geometric patterns symbolise harmony, balance, and protection in Afghan culture.

    Floral Designs: Floral motifs are another common feature of Afghan rugs, inspired by the lush landscapes and natural beauty of the region. These designs may include stylised flowers, vines, leaves, and blossoms intricately woven into the rug's surface. Floral patterns symbolise growth, fertility, and prosperity, infusing the rug with a sense of vitality and beauty.

    Medallions: Many Afghan rugs feature central medallions, which serve as focal points of the design. These medallions often exhibit symmetrical or asymmetrical patterns and may be surrounded by geometric borders or elaborate floral motifs. Medallions are symbolic of unity, balance, and protection, representing a central theme in Afghan rug design.

    Prayer Rugs: Prayer rugs are a special category of Afghan rugs designed for use during Islamic prayers. These rugs typically feature a mihrab, or prayer niche, design at one end, which indicates the direction of Mecca. Surrounding the mihrab are intricate geometric patterns, floral motifs, or Quranic inscriptions, creating a sacred space for prayer and reflection.

    Boteh (Paisley): The boteh, or paisley, motif is a distinctive feature of many Afghan rugs, symbolising fertility, growth, and eternal life. The boteh resembles a teardrop or cone-shaped motif and is often arranged in rows or clusters across the rug's surface. This timeless design element adds visual interest and depth to Afghan rugs, showcasing the artisans' mastery of their craft.

    Guls (Medallions): Guls, or medallions, are circular or octagonal motifs commonly found in Turkmen-influenced Afghan rugs. These stylised medallions often feature intricate geometric patterns, floral motifs, or tribal symbols, serving as focal points within the rug's design. Guls symbolise protection, prosperity, and unity, reflecting the cultural heritage of the Turkmen people.

    Tribal Symbols: Many Afghan rugs incorporate tribal symbols and motifs that carry specific meanings and significance within the community. These symbols may include animals, birds, human figures, or abstract shapes, each representing aspects of tribal identity, history, or mythology. Tribal motifs infuse Afghan rugs with a sense of cultural authenticity and tradition, connecting them to the ancestral roots of the artisans who create them.

    In summary, Afghan rugs exhibit a rich tapestry of patterns and designs that reflect the country's diverse cultural heritage and artistic traditions. From geometric motifs and floral designs to medallions and tribal symbols, each pattern imbues the rug with its own unique story and symbolism, making Afghan rugs cherished works of art admired by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.

  • Which colours are typical of Afghan Rugs?

    Afghan rugs boast a diverse and vibrant colour palette that reflects the rich cultural heritage and natural landscapes of Afghanistan. The colours used in Afghan rugs are derived from natural dyes sourced from plants, minerals, and insects, resulting in hues that are both vivid and harmonious. While the specific colour palette of Afghan rugs can vary depending on the region, tribal influences, and artistic preferences of the weaver, several characteristic colours are commonly found:

    Reds: Deep, rich reds are a signature colour in Afghan rugs, symbolising vitality, passion, and warmth. These red hues are often derived from natural dyes such as madder root, cochineal insects, or pomegranate skins. Red is a dominant colour in many Afghan rug designs, used for borders, medallions, and intricate motifs.

    Blues: Blues ranging from deep indigo to vibrant turquoise are prevalent in Afghan rugs, representing the vast skies and majestic mountains of Afghanistan. Blue hues are typically obtained from natural dyes such as indigo plants or lapis lazuli stones. Blue is often used to complement reds and create contrast in rug designs, adding depth and visual interest.

    Earthy Tones: Afghan rugs feature a range of earthy tones such as browns, ochres, and tans, evoking the desert landscapes and rugged terrain of Afghanistan. These neutral hues are derived from natural dyes such as walnut husks, onion skins, or tea leaves. Earthy tones serve as grounding elements in rug designs, providing a sense of balance and warmth.

    Greens: Greens found in Afghan rugs reflect the lush valleys and verdant landscapes of Afghanistan. These greens vary from soft sage to deep forest hues and are often derived from natural dyes such as indigo plants or wild herbs. Green is used sparingly in Afghan rug designs, often to represent foliage, leaves, or floral elements.

    Yellows and Golds: Yellows and golds add warmth and luminosity to Afghan rugs, symbolising sunlight and prosperity. These sunny hues are derived from natural dyes such as saffron, turmeric, or marigold flowers. Yellow and gold accents are often used to highlight motifs, borders, or decorative elements within the rug's design.

    Oranges and Coral: Oranges and coral tones infuse Afghan rugs with energy and vitality, representing the fiery sunsets and desert blooms of Afghanistan. These warm hues are obtained from natural dyes such as madder root or safflower petals. Orange and coral accents add warmth and vibrancy to rug designs, creating a sense of dynamic movement and contrast.

    In summary, the colour palette of Afghan rugs encompasses a rich spectrum of hues inspired by the natural landscapes, cultural traditions, and artistic sensibilities of Afghanistan. From deep reds and blues to earthy tones and vibrant accents, Afghan rugs showcase a harmonious blend of colours that captivates the eye and celebrates the country's diverse heritage.

  • What makes Afghan Rugs unique?

    Afghan rugs possess several distinctive qualities that set them apart and contribute to their uniqueness in the world of carpet weaving:

    Rich Cultural Heritage: Afghan rugs reflect the country's diverse cultural heritage, drawing inspiration from centuries of artistic traditions, including influences from Persia, Central Asia, and the Silk Road. This rich cultural tapestry infuses Afghan rugs with a depth of meaning and symbolism that resonates with collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.

    Traditional Hand Craftsmanship: Afghan rugs are primarily handwoven using traditional techniques passed down through generations of skilled artisans. The meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail involved in their creation result in high-quality carpets prized for their durability, beauty, and longevity.

    Natural Materials: Afghan rugs are crafted from natural materials such as wool sourced from local sheep breeds. The use of natural fibres gives Afghan rugs their characteristic softness, warmth, and resilience, as well as the ability to absorb natural dyes, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting colours.

    Distinctive Designs and Patterns: Afghan rugs feature a diverse range of designs and patterns, including geometric motifs, floral designs, tribal symbols, and medallions. Each rug tells a unique story and carries cultural significance, reflecting the artistic sensibilities and regional influences of the artisans who create them.

    Tribal and Nomadic Influences: Many Afghan rugs are crafted by tribal or nomadic communities who have preserved traditional weaving techniques and designs. These rugs often feature distinctive tribal motifs, patterns, and colour palettes that reflect the cultural identity and heritage of specific ethnic groups and regions.

    Practical and Decorative Versatility: Afghan rugs serve both practical and decorative purposes, functioning as floor coverings, bedding, saddlebags, or even tent dividers. These versatile carpets are designed to withstand the rigours of nomadic life while adding warmth, beauty, and a sense of cultural authenticity to any space.

    Historical Significance: Afghan rugs have a long and storied history that dates back thousands of years, making them significant artefacts of Afghan culture and history. These timeless treasures have been traded along the ancient Silk Road and have adorned the homes of royalty and nobility throughout the ages, adding to their allure and mystique.

    What makes Afghan rugs truly unique is their combination of rich cultural heritage, traditional hand craftsmanship, use of natural materials, distinctive designs and patterns, tribal and nomadic influences, practical and decorative versatility, and historical significance. These qualities make Afghan rugs cherished and sought-after treasures that embody the artistic legacy and cultural identity of Afghanistan.

  • How do I choose an Afghan Rug?

    Choosing an Afghan rug involves considering several factors to ensure that you select a piece that suits your preferences, complements your space, and reflects the quality craftsmanship and cultural heritage of Afghan rug making. Here's a guide on how to choose an Afghan rug:

    Determine Your Budget: Before you start your search, establish a budget that you're comfortable with. Afghan rugs come in a wide range of prices depending on factors such as size, quality, and design. Having a budget in mind will help you narrow down your options and focus on rugs that fit within your price range.

    Consider Your Space: Begin by assessing the size and layout of the room where you intend to place the rug. Measure the area to determine the appropriate rug size, keeping in mind furniture placement and traffic flow. Afghan rugs come in various sizes, from small accent rugs to large area carpets, so choose one that fits your space comfortably.

    Define Your Style: Afghan rugs feature a diverse range of designs, patterns, and colour palettes, allowing you to find a rug that complements your personal style and aesthetic preferences. Consider the existing decor and colour scheme of your space and whether you prefer traditional, tribal, or contemporary rug designs.

    Understand Rug Types: Familiarise yourself with the different types of Afghan rugs available, including Baluchi, Kazak, Khal Mohammadi, and Afghan Aqcha rugs, each with its own distinctive characteristics and cultural significance. Researching rug types will help you narrow down your options and make an informed decision.

    Examine Quality: Inspect the quality of the rug by examining its construction, materials, and craftsmanship. Look for tight, even weaving with uniform knotting, as well as high-quality natural materials such as wool and natural dyes. Check for any signs of damage or wear, such as loose threads, stains, or discoloration, which may affect the rug's longevity and value.

    Feel the Texture: Run your hands over the rug's surface to feel its texture and pile height. Afghan rugs are known for their luxurious feel and plush pile, which adds warmth and comfort to any space. Consider whether you prefer a softer, more cushioned feel or a flatter, more tightly woven texture.

    Assess Colour and Pattern: Pay attention to the rug's colour palette and pattern, considering how it will complement the decor and ambiance of your space. Afghan rugs feature a wide range of colours, from deep reds and blues to earthy tones and vibrant accents, as well as intricate geometric, floral, or tribal motifs. Choose a colour and pattern that harmonises with your existing decor while adding visual interest and depth to the room.

    Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose a rug that speaks to you on a personal level. Consider the rug's beauty, craftsmanship, and cultural significance, and select one that resonates with you emotionally and aesthetically. Remember that a well-chosen Afghan rug can become a cherished heirloom that enhances your home's beauty and character for years to come.

    By considering these factors and taking the time to explore your options, you can choose an Afghan rug that not only enhances your space but also celebrates the rich heritage and artistry of Afghan rug making.

  • Are Afghan Rugs of Good Quality?

    Afghan rugs are solid, durable and charming. They reflect the heritage of craftsmanship passed through generations of families. An Afghan handmade rug is generally a traditional rug but contemporary pieces are also woven as well. These beautiful rugs are part of a long history of rug making in the country.

  • Are Afghan Rugs hard wearing?

    Yes, Afghan rugs are renowned for their durability and hard wearing qualities, making them an excellent choice for both high-traffic areas and long-term use. Several factors contribute to the hardwearing nature of Afghan rugs:

    High-Quality Materials: Afghan rugs are crafted using high-quality natural materials, primarily wool sourced from local sheep breeds. Wool is known for its resilience, elasticity, and ability to withstand wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for rug making. The use of durable materials ensures that Afghan rugs maintain their integrity and appearance even after years of use.

    Traditional Hand Craftsmanship: Afghan rugs are hand woven using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations of skilled artisans. These techniques result in tightly woven rugs with strong, sturdy construction that can withstand heavy foot traffic and regular use. The attention to detail and precision craftsmanship involved in making Afghan rugs contribute to their longevity and hard wearing qualities.

    Tight Weave and Dense Pile: Afghan rugs are known for their tight weave and dense pile, which enhance their durability and resilience. The tight weave prevents the rug from stretching or becoming misshapen over time, while the dense pile provides cushioning and protection against wear. This construction ensures that Afghan rugs maintain their structural integrity and appearance even in high-traffic areas.

    Resistance to Stains and Soil: Wool, the primary material used in Afghan rugs, is naturally resistant to stains, dirt, and moisture. This inherent resistance makes Afghan rugs easy to clean and maintain, as spills and stains can be quickly spot-treated without damaging the rug's fibres. Regular vacuuming and occasional professional cleaning can help keep Afghan rugs looking fresh and vibrant for years to come.

    Versatility: Afghan rugs are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of settings, from homes and offices to hotels and restaurants. Their hardwearing qualities make them suitable for use in high-traffic areas such as entryways, hallways, living rooms, and dining rooms, where they can withstand the rigours of daily use without showing signs of wear.

    Afghan rugs are hard-wearing and durable, thanks to their high-quality materials, traditional hand craftsmanship, tight weave, dense pile, resistance to stains and soil, and versatility. These qualities make Afghan rugs a practical and long-lasting investment that can enhance the beauty and comfort of any space for years to come. 

  • How Are Afghan Rugs Made?

    Rug making, also known as carpet weaving, has been a part of Afghanistan's history for centuries. Afghan rugs are more than decoration; they are an iconic symbol, representing a country of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

    Rug making, or carpet weaving, has been a part of the country's history for centuries. Afghan rugs are more than just decoration; they represent a country with many cultures and ethnicities.

    Making an Afghan rug takes a long time. Each handmade rug is crafted painstakingly over several months or even years before being placed in a home.

  • What Are Afghan War Rugs?

    Afghanistan's war rug tradition started during the Soviet occupation in 1979. Afghan rug makers incorporated war apparatus into their designs almost immediately after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. They continue to do so despite the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan that ousted Omar's Taliban government. Rugs produced to respond to these events represent some of the late 20th and early 21st century's richest war art traditions.

    Rug dealers, commercial galleries, collectors, critics and commentators refer to the genre as Baluch and War Rug. Rugs with such characteristics convey their makers' interpretations and experiences about war and conflict in the region. 

  • What are common Afghan Rug Patterns?

    Afghan rugs' colour, design and weave are similar to Central Asian tribal textiles. These Persian rugs can be distinguished from Afghan rugs by their geometric patterns, and the most frequent one is the "Afghan Bokhara." Characterised by a Gül motif, these quartered octagons are often displayed in columns or rows framed within a border, and are sometimes referred to as "elephant's feet." Depending on the weaving, these carpets can range between coarse and fine in quality, each taking many months or even over a year to complete.

    Afghanis strictly observe the principles of Islam, which forbid the depiction of human and animal forms. Every rug is woven to a specific unique design, whether it is one from an intricate design plate or one the weaver develops themselves. To fix each knot, the weft is tightly woven between the warp. To form patterns, different colours of wool are tied to each row of knots.

    Each rug is a work of fine craftsmanship, not only stunning but also practical and highly durable. Some Afghan rugs are of the highest quality available and these traditional rugs can take many years to make.

  • What are Afghan Prayer Mats & Rugs?

    Rugs or kilims used for prayer are Afghan Prayer Rugs. Asymmetrical designs usually feature mihrabs or niche motifs symbolising Islamic architecture. 

    These traditional rugs originate in the region known as Baluchistan, in Afghanistan and Iran.

    Almost every prayer rug has a mihrab design at one end, which resembles an archway. Rugs can have a mihrab at both ends, creating a double prayer design. The mihrab points towards Mecca when the rug is used.

  • Common Types of Afghan Rugs

    Afghan Kilim Rugs

    In Turkish, the word 'kilim' refers to a flat weaving technique that produces a pileless rug. Most kilims are made in Afghanistan. Afghan Kilims are more durable and practical than Anatolian and Caucasian Kilims; they stick better to the floor and are ideal for any room.

    Kilim is among the oldest known rug types. It is an ancient type of weaving. True kilims are hand-woven rugs made using a technique that results in a low pile, flatwoven rug. Kilims generally consist of 100% wool, including the warps and wefts.

    Kilims do not have a pile like other Oriental or Persian rugs. Due to their low profile construction, they are reversible from both front and back and can use the "slit weave" technique, which leaves a gap between two blocks of colour.

    Kilim differs from carpets because its pattern and surface are not created by stitching over a warp. Weaving Kilim is done using weft balls or shuttles that go back and forth between warps. This produces a thinner, flat rug with the same back and front. 

    Afghan kilims feature original colour combinations, and a thin wire is added to make them stronger and more durable during the working process. This reduces separations in the design. Kilims usually feature bright colours like red, rust, white and blue. Pink, green and gold are common as well. Kilims are commonly dyed with vegetable-based or natural dyes. Kilim designs often result in geometric patterns with bold, sharp motifs, although floral designs are not unknown as well as more minimalist, contemporary designs.

    Afghan Chobi Rugs: Handmade Chobi Persian-style rugs are made in Afghanistan, near Pakistan. Chobi rugs are made using vertical looms, giving them a refined symmetrical look and these rugs are handcrafted to last for generations.

    Afghan Turkmen Rugs: Depending on the region, Turkoman rugs (or Turkmen rugs) can be from Uzbekistan or Afghanistan. These designs are attributed to various Turkmen tribes. Generally, there are three types of Turkmen rug: Bashir, Tekke and Yomut.

    They feature plain and simple patterns and a coarser design. They are predominantly red, and area-wide designs are common.

    Apart from Sarouk carpets made in Maruchak and Mauris, manufactured around Herat in Afghanistan's west, Turkoman carpets are woven only in the north of the country, between Maimanah and Kunduz. 

    Afghan Kazak Rugs: Afghan Kazak carpets are popular, sought after and one of the most well-known rugs with a traditional design. With its bold colour combinations and geometric illustrations, it is recognised worldwide. Rug lovers prefer Kazak rugs for their quality and value for money. In addition, they make unique accent floor coverings for both modern and traditional settings. 

    Since ancient times, Kazak rugs have been adding luxury, comfort and prestige to homes. In the past, Kazak rugs were symbols of status, woven with silver and gold. You found them in churches, palaces and large houses.

    Wool pile, formed by hand-tied knots, is woven onto cotton warp threads in these stunning rugs. Older versions of these rugs often had woollen warps.

    Afghan Herati Rugs: Herati rugs are from western Afghanistan. Herat was historically one of the most important artistic centres in the Middle East, and it remains a thriving centre of the arts today. Rugs from Herat are distinguished by the high level of craftsmanship which goes into them, using a very tight weave to fit many knots into a small area.

    Afghan Ziegler Rugs: The Ziegler Rug Company began producing carpets in Arak, Persia, in the 1870s. Previously, the British company exported cloth products to Persia. Ziegler carpets and rugs are often stone washed as a finish to achieve a washed-out look but this is not always the case for rugs of this popular, traditional design. 

  • What Colour is an Afghan Rug?

    Colour is an essential element when choosing an Afghan rug. Deciding on the colour scheme for your rug is crucial for creating the right atmosphere in your space. A large rug lets you play with bold and subtle colours and patterns without overwhelming your space. There's no wrong way, whether you go for a modern/contemporary piece or a more traditional /classic rug.

    The colours of Afghan carpets are traditionally red. The deep red colour is achieved by the dye being made from pomegranate peel, cochineal and/or madder. The colour red is said to bring people wealth, luck, beauty, joy and courage, and it is a strong and emotional colour. 

    Other natural vegetable dyes tend to be shades of brown and are also used to give Afghan rugs their colours. For instance, roots, tree rinds, organic materials, dried skins and shells of nuts are gathered by hand and handled in boiling tanks, where the wool is then set for a few hours to a couple of days to assimilate the colour to the right shade. 

  • Why Choose London House Rugs?

    We are rug experts at London House Rugs. We've spent more than four decades honing our craft and building long-term, ethical connections with weavers all across the East. A London House Rug has gone through rigorous sourcing, manufacturing and finishing processes to ensure quality and beauty.

    We have spent a lot of time seeking the most incredible rugs in the Middle East and establishing long-term, ethical relationships with weaving cooperatives. We have a vast assortment of new and antique carpets in our store.

    We collaborate with individuals and businesses to design, make and locate carpets for various applications. Please look at some of our recent projects to get a sense of the wide range of services we provide, including everything from a single hearth rug for your own home to a hundred handcrafted carpets for a hotel rollout.

  • What are Afghan Rugs made from?

    These carpets have a variety of weave qualities. Most of them take six to nine months to complete, such as flatwoven carpets and hand-knotted piled carpets made of wool, cotton, and silk. This makes Afghan rugs unique in almost every aspect of design, and they are regarded around the world as truly beautiful rugs.

    Afghan rugs are made from three types of wool: Ghazni Wool, Merino Wool and Belgian Wool. We only focus on these three types of wool since other types are uncommon in Afghan handmade carpets.

    Durability, knot count per square inch, and softness of rugs are partially determined by the wool type used.

    Ghazni Wool: Afghan rugs are often made with Ghazni wool. Despite being from Ghazni, the wool is not limited to this area. This wool has a spinning and dyeing process that sets it apart from the others. Wool is spun by hand after it's sheared and washed. By spinning the wool so hard, artisans try to thin the yarn. Natural dyes are used to dye the yarn after making it from wool. Due to hand-spinning, some parts of the thread absorb dye to a lesser extent and some more. Abrash effects result from this. Ghazni wool rugs are durable, beautiful and have a distinctive abrash effect.

    Merino Wool: Merino wool is also used to make Afghan rugs. Merino wool yarn is machine spun, absorbing the dyes and doesn't have the abrash effect. Merino wool is soft and with a silk-like shine, but it does not have the durability of Ghazni wool.

    Belgian Wool: Afghanistan imports high-quality Belgian wool. The four primary characteristics are softness, silky shine, lightness, and durability. Belgian wool doesn't have an abrash effect because it absorbs dye smoothly. Rugs woven with this method have a high knot count per square inch, adding to their quality. In recent years, Afghan rugs have been woven using this wool. 

  • Where are Afghan Rugs Made?

    Most Afghani rug weavers are nomadic, and as such, these tribes constantly move from place to place. Small portable looms are used to weave their rugs, which are also used to decorate tents in their homes. Consequently, Afghan weavings are usually smaller rugs available as individual, unique pieces.

    Rugs made in Afghanistan are called Afghan Rugs. As there are many tribal groups in Afghanistan, each with unique carpet design and weaving techniques, a particular pattern cannot be classified as Afghan.

    Afghan Rug Facts:

    Original name: فرش افغانستان، قالی افغانستان

    Common designs: Geometric, Floral

    Common colours: Red, Dark Red, Blue, Octagonal Patterns

    Typical Knot Density: 150.000 - 250.000 knots/sqm