Rug Types and AZ’s Roles
TRIBAL RUGS & SOCIETIES
One of humankind’s oldest surviving forms of woven artifacts are the tribal rugs from village populations in Asia, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Caucasus and beyond. Nomads, who in large numbers occupied Iran and Afghanistan until recently, are known for their tribal rugs as well. It is their vibrant colors that set them apart from other traditions. Their weavings are still identifiable by design-motifs which are found in other artifacts such as shawls and jewelries. Because lifestyles of the nomads have been preserved to some degree, their arts readily reflect old cultural traditions, going back hundreds of years in the case of the Turkmen tribe. Similarly, there are recent examples of Kurdish, Baluch, and Turkmen rugs being made on old-fashioned looms uninfluenced by commercial demands.
(See “Why AZ?” for a lengthier discussion of Tribal rugs.)ANTIQUE RUGS
To earn the status of an “antique,” a rug requires at least a few dozen years of life since it was first crafted, with lifetimes of one hundred years and more for many antiques. The market for antique rugs thrives in affluent towns where well-traveled, wealthy, and culturally artistic people live. Deep appreciation for rugs often coincides with refined tastes in music, food, and the arts. Colder climates turn the attention indoors, and so homeowners in certain regions often introduce rugs for improved décor. Some feel rugs enhance the museum ambience of their home.
While an antique rug can grow in investment value over time, most owners overlook seeing it as such. Instead they enjoy their collections as pieces of art, woven artifacts, and histories woven. These collections are never perceived simply as floor coverings. Rather, every rug tells them stories. Their rare collections accumulated over a lifetime can be the subject of conversation for hours.
There is a notable shift for the dealers who see rugs as art and antiques in the world today. New generations are not interested to take over an antique rug business. The antique rug business draws its meaning from stories and histories of old lifestyles that are often worlds apart from the modern high-tech era. The trends within the rug industry now emanate more from fashion and need than from interest in the life stories of tribal areas one hundred years ago. Even to locate an old piece in good condition is difficult. One could barely see a piece in Bokhara, Samarkand and Ashgabat’s Altyn Asyr Bazaar, (the ancient Silk Road trade centers for reginal tribal rugs & weavings) where previously half the inventory consisted of old Turkmen rugs and other artifacts*. Therefore, keeping these dealers and their rugs alive is almost an issue of cultural survival. Those who import these kinds of artifacts bless their respected communities with pieces of treasure. So, my sincere advice to antique rug lovers and dreamers is appreciate your rugs, care for them, keep your eyes open, and be ready to seize your next opportunity. You may not find it tomorrow!Antique Reproduction: AZ's Natural Dyed (Vegetable-Dyed) Collection
Enough has been said about the carpets and weaving in Afghanistan and surrounding regions. I have worked in Afghanistan, especially on carpet industry both in my official and private capacities. I have gathered the annual official export data from 2005-2021
One important part that is worth mentioning, which is where AZ International, LLC achievement begun is the major and revolutionary developments in the making of rugs by Afghans in the refugee camps in Pakistan. Chris Walter and some others contributed in developing vegetable dyes and production of traditional Turkmen rugs by Afghan Turkmens in the refugee camps. AZ International, LLC, (as part of the community) already been trading and marketing Afghan carpets made in various camps further enhanced the qualities, designs by experimenting dyestuffs, finishing methods and adopted greater changes to meet the demands of the greater world. AZ Int’l. worked intensively with major Pakistani dealers/exporters in Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi thus became a bridge between the tribal Afghan refugees that fled their villages in northern Afghanistan and did not speak or understood Pakistani languages (Urdu, Pashto or English).
AZ Int’l. and extended family members, relatives and friends along with Pakistani associates set up a huge facility to distribute wool for spinning, yarns to weavers, washing and fining the off-loom rugs, graph-works/CAD and all other works. (see pictures will be attached)
The industrial and commercial nature of carpet industry in Pakistan and its businessmen and traders who later acted as the major marketers for Afghan carpets changed the way the tribal Afghans made rugs for centuries.
It needs to be acknowledged that Pakistani carpet dealers have changed the dynamic of the tribal ways of traditional Afghan rug weavings. Afghan rugs, once known to be traditional, classic red Turkmen rugs, mostly from northern Afghanistan, scattered pieces made in small setups in Kabul, wool & silk Tekke design Turkmen pieces from Heart or some tribal Baluch pieces changed into a systematic production of decorative rugs finely executed in varieties of ancient Caucasian, Persian, Mamlouk, Moghul and Turkish designs mostly using luxurious hand-spun wool yarns dyed in the unique Afghan way that is only mastered by the particular producer.
This is the recent story of the AZ’s Natural Dyed Rug production that we would like to call Antique Reproduction or Antique Rug Revival, as we are increasingly focusing on forgotten designs and revive them.Program Rugs
These rugs are still handwoven but with much more standardization in color and size. This process yields a greater number of finished goods but requires a more sustained managerial effort. Sometimes the rugs are branded. Samples are carried by retailers in various sizes and colors, with additional sizes and colors available upon request. We have great business relationships with well-established companies that carry popular and quality-branded rugs. We can always special order the following branded rugs at great prices. 1. Ralph Lauren 2. Thomas O’Brien 3. Calvin Klein 4. Martha Stewart 5. Barclay Butera 6. William Morris 7. Safavieh.Area Rug (Floor Covering)
This category offers a wide variety of designer-looking imitations of old and new oriental rug patterns. This category is very crowded and confusing. Few are hand-knotted, Most are machine-made. Some are branded, but regardless, the machine-made rugs have no future or investment value. Turkey produces printed rugs. India uses recycled fabric. This category is known for its color and texture capabilities, as well as for what is fashionable. Quality or origins are not a matter of concern in this category, let alone stories behind motifs.
Market is flooded by copies of Persian, Caucasian and other imaginable ancient and modern hand-made rug designs. Most of those famous Persian, Caucasian and Turkmen design names are hash tagged so, your search in the internet will result in numerous listings of cheap area rugs sold near you in a Sam’s Club, Costco, Furniture or online. Unfortunately, the famous brands are now increasingly leaning toward this category “Area Rugs”
THANK YOU!PLEASE SCORLL DOWN FOR PICTURES OF OUR FACILITIES & SHORT DESCRIPTIONS OF FINING PROCESSES.