Afghan Rugs: The Contemporary Art of Central Asia

May 3 – Jul 27, 2014
Boca Raton Museum of Art

The international exhibition, Afghan Rugs: The Contemporary Art of Central Asia, features over 40 rugs from a private European collection, traveling for the first time to museums in North America. Selected for their exceptional quality and stunning imagery, the rugs in this exhibition represent a unique category in decorative arts. They constitute some of the most powerful visual inventions of the late 20th century and are skillfully crafted with hand-spun and dyed, tightly knotted wool.

These exquisitely woven works of art are designed with thoroughly untraditional motifs. Approximately half of the rugs—some produced well before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979—feature cityscapes, portraits, landscapes, and world maps, framed by tanks and helicopters. Other rugs in the include weapons and fighting scenes made by weavers in Afghanistan, or in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. No matter the central imagery, each rug is traditionally bounded by an intricately framed and detailed border design offering incredible works of art to be enjoyed on the floor as well as the wall.

Curated by Enrico Mascelloni and Annemarie Sawkins, PhD


War Rug with Map of Afghanistan at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

War Rug with Map of Afghanistan, knotted wool, Baghlan (Afghanistan), acquired in Peshawar (Pakistan), 1998
71 3/4 x 45 1/4 inches