war rugs

Carpet Bombings

After the Soviet invasion in 1979, Afgan rug makers strayed from the mostly geometric forms they had depicted for centuries, and began weaving figurative designs. These images were not traditional either—they were flags, helicopters, tanks, grenades, and other accoutrements of the soldiers they wanted as their customers. Initially the Western market ignored these creations, which did not fit with their concept of what “authentic” Afgan rugs should be.

But eventually dealers and scholars took notice, and now an exhibition featuring some spectacular examples of this hybrid genre has arrived at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. This rug, woven between 2001-2007, depicts President Najibullah, who led Afghanistan when the Soviet army withdrew in 1989, as a puppet managed by a hand with a hammer and sickle. The figures riding on camels across the bottom of the rug are refugees.

Curators stress they have not decoded much of the iconography on these carpets. The weavers, who came from ethnic regions with their own distinctive materials, iconography, and techniques, had shared styles in refugee camps and elsewhere, meaning that the old categories for sorting and interpreting their work are no longer useful. And these days, weavers are just as likely to be influenced by images from television or foreign magazines as they are by historical antecedents.

“People see these things and jump to the conclusion that it’s protest art,” says Penn Museum curator Brian Spooner. “I don’t think we have any evidence at all. I think it’s also that people try and please the international customer.”

The weavers the museum worked with offered the staff a carpet with an image of President Nixon as a gift, Spooner recounts. “That didn’t go down very well here,” he says. “So we compromised, and they wove us a small carpet with the museum logo on it.”

Photo © Textile Museum of Canada.

Neighbouring Afghanistan in the east, Iran’s reactions to its conflicts have been somewhat different. Throughout history, the Iranian expression of objection has been largely echoed through poetry and literature, murals, music, and visual art. The paradox of depicting such bitter subjects as war through a medium that has been long considered a sublime art in Iranian culture has been confronted in the work of contemporary Iranian artists such as Sissi Farassat. Residing in Austria, Farassat hand-stiches hundreds of Swarovski crystals onto canvases to depict helicopters and other vehicles of war. The dazzling appearance of Farassat’s ‘rugs’ contradicts their intense inspiration, and serves as an example of Iranian visual art expressing objection. Similar to Afghan weavers and their clashing use of colourful tanks and flower-shaped grenades, Farassat draws attention to historical trauma and veils the horror of war, instead pointing to the ornamental aesthetic of her heritage and the Iranian carpet weaving tradition.  Unlike with Farassat’s works, however, the presence of childlike patterns in the Afghan war rugs may serve as a testament to the existence of child labour. In the industry, children are often exploited through forced labour due to their nimble fingers and superior eyesight.

Read the full article on REORIENT

Star Wars Grey Millenium Falcon Rug, you’ll most definitely want a Millennium Falcon Printed Rug to protect your feet (even if you have more than two).

Star Wars Grey Millenium Falcon Rug


I want this!

The *Cool Stuffs!

The rugged beauty of Mount Williamson looms over Manzanar National Historic Site in California. Established to preserve the stories of the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, Manzanar serves as a reminder of a dark period in our history. For more information: http://www.nps.gov/manz. Photo by Susan Fouts (www.sharetheexperience.org).

it’s been months, by the dead of June the rest have all been forgotten. Lurking through the woods, 29 NHL teams watch the Penguins, waiting. No one’s seen teams like the Canadiens, the Bruins, The Canucks, since April. In their absence flowers grew, the trees got their leaves back, the Stanley Cup was awarded. 

On top of the mountain, The Pens have all the attention. The sun is shining right down on them, and all of their championship glory.

And then, a rumble.

Noise from the forests below, it’s not just about the pens anymore. Patrice Bergeron emerges, war-torn and rugged, making his way up the mountain, a determined look on his face and a bow in his hand. But no time to be alarmed by him, PK Subban and Brent Burns, carrying makeshift swords exit the forest from the opposite direction, making their own way up the mountain. Conor McDavid peers through the branches before waving on Ghostisbehere. 

“What is this?” Matt Murray asks, stepping forward and looking out as more and more NHL players make their way up the mountains. 

“They’re here.” Sidney Crosby says, unsheathing his own sword, “the NHL awards, they’re coming, it’s not about us anymore.”

There’s a shrill cry. Conor Sheary has spotted Patrice Bergeron.

“Omg,” he whispers to Kuhnhackl “I love him.”

The war rug tradition of Afghanistan has its origins in the decade of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979, and has continued through subsequent military, political and social conflicts. Afghan rug-makers began incorporating the apparatus of war into their designs almost immediately after the Soviet Union invaded their country. They continue to do so today in the wake of the United States’ 2001invasion of Afghanistan which ousted the Taliban government of Mullah Omar but has failed to bring an end to violence in the country. The rugs produced in response to these events are among the world’s richest traditions of war art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The terms Baluch and war rug are generalisations given to the genre by rug dealers, commercial galleries, collectors, critics and commentators. The distinctive characteristic of these rugs is their capacity to convey their makers’ experiences and interpretations of the circumstances and politics of war and conflict in the region.

Little is known about the circumstances of war rugs’ production and distribution, or their makers’ intentions.

Chewbacca Rug

I was mortified the first time I saw this rug!

I had my phone out ready to dial the authorities to report the illegal poaching of some poor Wookie when a helpful R2 sales unit approached and started beeping or tweeting or whatever it is they do.

The commotion caused by my yelling and “it’s” beeping caused the manager to come out from behind the desk. The ugly, blue, flying and foul smelling whatever he was, informed me in his(?) thick accent, that he had a permit for the rug and that no Wookie died in the making of it.

Turns out, Wookies shed a lot.

I still don’t like it.

They could of donated the fur, or hair (or whatever it is) to some charity.

I’m sure there’s a Wookie on chemo out there that could of used it.

Purchase with discretion.



Over the Garden Wall: The Millennial’s Fairytale
-Vrai Kaiser

While it’ll be some time before we can start weaving the history books, I’m fairly prepared to say we’re currently living in a new Golden Age of western animation. Starting as early as the controlled, beautiful storytelling of Avatar and exploding in the wake of Adventure Time’s bold exploration of world building and mythos, we’ve finally reached a point where the gatekeepers of entertainment are ready to consider animation, if not as seriously as supposed ‘real’ entertainment, as a flexible field of possibilities. Most recently, that means Over the Garden Wall, perhaps Cartoon Network’s first true miniseries since Tartakovsky’s regrettably swept under the rug Clone Wars.

One thing the recent generation of cartoons has had in common, from Legend of Korra toGravity Falls, is a willingness to cast a wider net through the maturity of its writing. A lot of this stems from the 90s, with its envelope-pushing oddities (Invader ZimCourage the Cowardly Dog), influx of anime (all the way up to today, when Space Dandy aired in America before Japan), and the burgeoning heyday of explicitly teen and adult oriented cartoons (Daria, the birth of Adult Swim). And as those who came of age in the late 80s and 90s come to creative positions of power, the realization starts to assert itself that the appeal of animation isn’t down to an age demographic. The exploration of what that might mean is what we’re in the midst of now, and so we come back to that miniseries.Over the Garden Wall is an experiment with one foot in history and one in the now, trying its hardest to act as a fairytale for the millennial generation.

Now, OtGW has its hand in quite a few pots as far as thematic exploration, so we’re going to break it down subheading style. And because this show is well worth watching, and richer for going in without prior knowledge, I will now warn for copious spoilers.

I. The Old Façade of New Heroes, and Vice Versa
The Landscape of the Unknown
Who Are You?

Read the rest over at the blog!

Alderaan Cruiser

Both Bail Organa and his adoptive daughter, Princess Leia, used their position in the Senate to benefit their heartfelt causes of freedom and to aid those that desperately needed it in war-weary times. Their consular vessels were afforded diplomatic immunity due to their ambassadorial status, and frequently ran mercy missions into dangerous territory. Bail’s vessels of choice ranged from a streamlined diplomatic cruiser to the more rugged, war-ready Tantive IV that served as his transport to Toydaria during the Clone Wars. Princess Leia inherited the Tantive IV from her father, and used it to intercept vital Rebel Alliance transmissions of secret Imperial plans to the Death Star. Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer pursued the Tantive IV over Tatooine and captured the blockade runner high over the desert planet.