Afghan antique rugs acquired their name from Afghanistan where an intersection of Baluch, Turkmen, and Uzbek weavers can be found. Traditionally, these carpets were made in Afghanistan but many Afghan rugs today are woven by refugees who reside in Pakistan and Iran.
Most Afghan rugs are referred to by their region of origin or by the name of the tribe that makes them. Based on these factors, there are three types of rugs that can be called of Afghan origin; Afghan Turkestan, Baluch, and Herati. Each type represents a diverse range of cultures and artistic taste. They also reflect the heritage of cottage-based craftsmanship passed through generations after generations of families.
The Afghan rug maintains the same antique and heirloom qualities of any Persian, Indian, or Oriental, piece. It is generally made with wool warps and wefts, and wool piles with both symmetrical and asymmetrical knotting. However, Afghan weavers are also capable of producing fine silk rugs. Most rugs originating in Afghanistan are made up of Persian knots and feature vegetable dyed handspun wool and other natural dyes.
There are also different qualities of pile rugs available, ranging from coarse, medium to fine weave, including felted wool rugs that are also called Nomads, pile and knotted carpets made from wool, silk, and cotton, and flat non-pile fabric woven carpets also referred to as Kilims. Kilim is one of the most popular rugs from Afghanistan.
Afghan carpets are mostly medium sized, with repeating octagonal figures called a ‘gul’ which is Persian for ‘flower’ or ‘rose’. The rugs almost always have a red field. The weavers also produce other ornamentation of the nomadic lifestyle, including tent bags and ceremonial pieces. One large Afghan carpet typically takes six to nine months to weave and is of the finest qualities and artistic measures of Afghan weavers.