Afghan War Weaves

From the Trojan siege that spawned Homer's Iliad to the Luftwaffe bombing that inspired Picasso's Guernica, war has long served as a midwife for art. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the ensuing horror found expression in the most traditional Afghan art form—the Oriental rug. Two Afghan tribal groups, the Chahar Aimaq and the Baloch, expanded their color palette and changed their subject matter to reflect the jarring reality that their homeland had become a battlefield. Over the next decade, they produced carpets featuring rocket launchers, machine guns, bombs, and helicopter gunships. In lesser numbers, these carpets are still...

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