AFGHANISTAN RUGS are usually large, the average size being about eight by eleven feet. They are made by Turkomans inhabiting that part of Afghanistan known as Afghan-Turkestan and, therefore, the rugs are sold under the name of Afghan-Turkomans. They are hand-some and durable but coarser in texture than those made by other subdivisions of the great Turkoman tribe. The predominant color is red, and the rugs are excellent for a small library or den because of their rich and glowing tones.
The accompanying color plate explains, in part, the Afghanistan rug. As a rule there are three octagons placed across the width and six or seven lengthwise, depending upon the size of the rug. In many rugs the star design may be noticed within the octagon, and in the field an eight-pointed star. The main border in the older rugs is made up of clearly defined diamonds containing crosses placed between narrower borders that hold a running vine. The outside, or guard border, is easily recognized by the saw-tooth design. The webbing extends some distance beyond the pile and has horizontal lines woven through it with space between in dark blue and brown. At the end is a fringe and in the older and better rugs there is a knotting of the upper part of this fringe. Although the rugs are rather loosely woven and the pile is not closely cut, the knotting is very firm and the sides of the rugs have a selvage that is very strong, the heavy cords having the yarn wound about them several times.
Some rugs have a strong odor, which is especially noticeable in those of Afghanistan. The reason for the presence of the odor is that the the animal’s hair has not been properly cleansed. Nothing but a thorough washing on the back as well as on the surface, with soap and hot water, seems to be effective in dispensing with the odor, although certain atmospheric changes affect it.. Fortunately this disturbing feature is not present in all Afghan rugs.
( Originally Published Late 1900’s )