Peshawar Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Peshawar rugs are woven in northern Pakistan, very close to the Afghan border. The region is not, however, a traditional rug producing center. Part of the reason it has become one, and it has, is the political situation in Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. Nearly all Afghan rugs, for example, are produced in Peshawar. That is, they are washed, clipped, stretched, and finished to ready them for final sale. Afghan weavers who have lived and worked in Pakistan for the last several years, however, are beginning to return home. It will clearly take some years to re-establish in Kabul what is up and running in Peshawar today.

Production of Peshawar rugs is thus contemporary rather than historic. On the one hand, Peshawar rugs continue many rug making traditions of Central Asia. On the other, they also incorporate modern elements into classical motifs. Peshawar also produces good quality rugs in traditional Central Asian and Persian styles.

Peshawar Rugs: Old Traditions, New Motifs, New Origins

The city of Bokara in today's Uzbekistan, for example, was once a rug making center. The city gave its name to a still-popular design characterized by medallions in repeating patterns, much like elephant tracks. The ethnicity of those who originally produced the style was Turkmen. Bokara rugs today are now produced primarily in the Peshawar region of Pakistan.

Afghan war rugs are particularly popular in the United States. Ethnically, they are Turkmen. The design elements they feature are, for example, helicopters, tanks, and handguns rather than geometric flowers or medallions. At the same time, the dyes are natural, the knots hand tied, and the colors the traditional deep blues and reds.

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