Afghan rugs are made in nomadic tribes, villages and workshops.
The term ‘Afghan’ is normally applied to any traditional item made in Afghanistan that has not been classified as belonging to one of the major Turkoman or Belouch groups (Beshir, Bokhara, etc). These contemporary Afghans, in combination with Beshir and Bokhara, constitute the major sources of the famous ‘red carpets’ of Central Asia. Originally they were the sole preserve of nomadic groups, but today they are also made in villages and workshops. Regardless of where they were made, they retain the same designs, colours and general characteristics of the nomadic originals.
Afghan rugs are normally woven on woollen foundations, with between 30 and 160 Persian knots per square inch, using good quality, often lustrous wool which is clipped to form either a low/medium or medium pile. They are traditionally composed in either the ‘Elephant foot’ or hatchli design, although a number of variant geometric schemes are now employed.
These rugs are renowned for their hard-wearing properties and are generally regarded as the best quality and consequently the most expensive items made in Afghanistan.