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Afghan Weavers in Pakistan
area rugs

cs_afg_weavers_hDue to the civil war in Afghanistan, most of the rug weavers took refuge in neighboring Pakistan. While the weavers were within Pakistan borders, many of them simply pitched tents in the deserts and made homes there. This immigration of weavers led to what could be considered a rug weaver renaissance.

After spending quite some time living in the desert, many of the weavers started back to their rug making heritage. People, known as producers, would come and request for the weavers to make specific rugs for them. The producers would provide the design and the materials needed, but the weaver would be compensated for hand crafting the rugs.

This new process changed rug-making and producing forever. Due to the producers being from all areas of the world, weavers began creating more westernized rugs than ever before. Little is known about who actually started the trend, but one thing is certain; the rug-making renaissance has created quite a stir among Afghan weavers. Some of the weavers welcomed the change, others refused to embrace it.

Some of the weavers refused to use designs if they were not of their own making. These weavers struggled and were lucky to get any work. Due to the lack of client opportunities, even the weavers with the strongest moral regard to the weaving process began to bend to the new trend.

While many people outside of the region consider the true rug makers to be the producers who are a part of every decision, others believe that the true rug makers are those who stood their ground and did not bend. Even while facing starvation and poverty, the true rug makers stood against changing their heritage. They did not conform to the changes, and they held steady to an already dying heritage. That in itself is something to admire.

Afghan weavers only took refuge in Pakistan because they had to leave, fight or die. They chose to leave. Whatever reason they had, they took a chance, made new lives for themselves and continued doing the only thing that they knew would put food in their mouths.