Afghan rugs are genuine, often charming — and usually phenomenally inexpensive.
At present, it is very hard to sort out which ‘Afghan’ rugs are actually made in Afghanistan, and which are made in Pakistan by Afghan refugees. At least a million Afghans, including hundreds of thousands of rug-weavers, fled Afghanistan during its war with the Soviet Union and subsequent civil war, settling especially in Pakistan and Iran. To my knowledge, very few rugs are shipped directly from Afghanistan to the United States or Europe today. Instead, most are transported to Pakistan, then shipped abroad. So both Afghan rugs made in Pakistan, and Afghan rugs made in Afghanistan, are shipped from Pakistan, often making it impossible to sort out where a particular Afghan rug is actually woven. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter. Presumably at some time many of the refugees will return to Afghanistan and resume rugmaking there. For the purposes of this discussion, we will assume that all rugs made by Afghan…
Wool rugs are woven to last HUNDREDS of years. In our industry a rug today is not considered to be “antique” unless it is woven before 1900. They are made to last, and many of them do when properly cared for.
However, you put a rug in the wrong conditions, with the wrong bugs, and you can lose that rug in under a year. Eaten away by moths, carpet beetles, or other bugs feeding on other contaminants the rug fibers are holding on to.
This 8’x10′ Turkish rug was completely eaten away while in storage several years. Rugs must be CLEANED and with protective treatments before placing into storage. Worms and waste cover this once beautiful rug. Storage is the place where the worst damage occurs. This makes sense because the bugs like dark, undisturbed places to make their meal.
In homes, with rugs in use, this bug damage will be found under large furniture. Moths and carpet beetles love to eat under a sofa that is never moved to vacuum under it. And damage will be found UNDERNEATH the rug on…
LARTA at Battersea Park The London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair (LARTA), the British capital’s sole annual exhibition focused on high-end antique carpets and textiles, takes place on 24-29 January 2017. This year, the fair has a different format with a new location in Battersea Park, as part of the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair. HALI will be present, bringing magazines as well as textile and carpet books.