An Afghan rug (or Afghan carpet) is a type of handwoven floor-covering textile traditionally made in the northern and western areas of Afghanistan, mainly by Afghan Turkmens and Uzbeks. The industry is being expanded to all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
Afghan rugs have won a number of international awards. The most notable Afghan rugs market in Afghanistan is in the affluent Shahr-e Naw area of Kabul. The cities of Peshawar, Islamabad and Quetta in Pakistan as well as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates are also notable for Afghan rugs markets.
Weaving rugs in Afghanistan is an ancient tradition and business, which probably existed for thousands of years.
Afghanistan exported over 800,000 square meters of Afghan rug in 2021, which generated about $30 million dollars. Over $7 million worth of Afghan rugs have been exported in 2022 to Turkey, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Uzbekistan.
Some Afghan rugs are woven by the Afghan diaspora in Iran and Pakistan. And some Afghan rugs have been sent to Pakistan, where they are given the label "Made in Pakistan" and then exported to other countries.
Types and varieties
One of the most exotic and distinctive of all oriental rugs is the Shindand or Adraskan (named after local Afghan towns), woven in the Herat Province, in western Afghanistan. Strangely elongated human and animal figures are their signature look. The carpet can be sold across Afghanistan with the most based in Mazar-e Sharif.
Various vegetable and other natural dyes are used to produce the rich colors. The rugs are mostly of medium sizes. Many patterns and colors are used, but the traditional and most typical is that of the octagonal elephant's foot (Bukhara) print, often with a red background. The weavers also produce other trappings of the nomadic lifestyle, including tent bags and ceremonial pieces.
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