Afghan rug

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An Afghan rug (or Afghan carpet[1]) is a type of handwoven floor-covering textile traditionally made in the northern and western areas of Afghanistan,[2][3] mainly by Afghan Turkmens and Uzbeks.[1][4] The industry is being expanded to all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.[5]

Afghan rugs have won a number of international awards.[6][7] The most notable Afghan rugs market in Afghanistan is in the affluent Shahr-e Naw area of Kabul.[8] 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.


Afghan women showing their Adraskan rugs in western Afghanistan.

Weaving rugs in Afghanistan is an ancient tradition and business, which probably existed for thousands of years.

In 2008, 2013, and 2014 Afghan rugs won international awards at an international exhibition held every year in Hamburg, Germany.[6][7]

Around 1.2 million people are involved in the rug business in Afghanistan.[5] Others have put the number at around 2 million people.[9]

Afghanistan exported over 800,000 square meters of Afghan rug in 2021, which generated about $30 million dollars.[10][11] Over $7 million worth of Afghan rugs have been exported in 2022 to Turkey, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Uzbekistan.[12]

Some Afghan rugs are woven by the Afghan diaspora in Iran and Pakistan.[13][4][14][15] And some Afghan rugs have been sent to Pakistan, where they are given the label "Made in Pakistan" and then exported to other countries.[16][17]

Types and varieties[edit]

The famous Bukhara pattern.
A different Afghan pattern

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.

Another staple of Afghanistan is Baluchi rugs, most notably Baluchi prayer rugs. They are made by Afghanistan's ethnic Baloch people in the south-western part of the country.

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Afghan carpet". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ "In Pictures: Risking death in search for antique Afghan carpets". Al Jazeera. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 2022-01-03.
  3. ^ "Afghans sell $1.7m carpets at Dubai conference". Pajhwok Afghan News. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  4. ^ a b Baloch, Babar (30 January 2003). "Feature: Eager weavers put a positive spin on refugee life in Pakistan". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Retrieved 2022-01-03.
  5. ^ a b "1.2 million people in Afghanistan employed in carpet industry: Union". Ariana News. May 20, 2022. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  6. ^ a b "Afghanistan grabs carpet Oscar award". Pajhwok Afghan News. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  7. ^ a b "Afghan carpets awarded 1st position in carpet international exhibition". Ariana News. September 16, 2014. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  8. ^ "For Kabul's carpet, antique dealers, a long wait for buyers". Al Jazeera. 28 September 2021. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  9. ^ "Afghan families go back to making carpets as economy unravels". The Express Tribune. 12 December 2021. Retrieved 2022-01-03.
  10. ^ Hakimi, Amina (3 January 2022). "Afghan Carpet Exports Increase Amid Economic Crisis". TOLOnews. Retrieved 2022-01-03.
  11. ^ "Almost 1 million square meters of Afghan carpets exported in past year". Ariana News. July 2, 2023. Retrieved 2022-01-03.
  12. ^ "Afghan Carpet Exports Surge by 30%, Ministry Reports". TOLOnews. 13 August 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  13. ^ Traditional Persian carpets likely to be woven by Afghan migrants on YouTube (Dec. 30, 2018)
  14. ^ Qayyum, Mahwish (30 June 2021). "After fleeing violence in Afghanistan, carpet weaving provides refugee women with a meagre but vital lifeline in Pakistan". Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  15. ^ "With Afghan refugees leaving, is Pakistan waving goodbye to carpet-weaving?". The Express Tribune. January 24, 2017. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  16. ^ "Afghan Carpets Export to World Markets Under Pakistan's Name". Ariana News. June 29, 2017. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  17. ^ Peterson, Scott (27 March 2021). "In Afghanistan, weaving ancient industry back into global market". Christian Science Monitor – via Khorasan Rugs.

External links[edit]