The Peshawar Hand-Knotted Oriental Rug
Peshawar rugs, which can be found under the name of Chobi rugs, reflect a mixture of elements from various oriental weaving techniques and, however, they can easily get noticed among other carpets. There is something about the rugs weaved in Peshawar, maybe their transitional features that make them look special and fit in with modern interior designs. Wooden colors, which explain the Chobi name, the ancient classic look, and large design are characteristics of the rugs that Pakistani and Afghani weavers produce or finish in Peshawar.
Peshawar or the ‘walled city’ that connects Northern Pakistan with Afghanistan is recognized as carpet finishing center. Given that it is a border area, the cultures of both countries mingle with each other and this can be noticed in the traditional handicrafts, especially rugs that are sold in the local markets. Carpet weaving is a centuries-old tradition in both countries and important part of their culture. These carpets comprise a mixture of different tribal and nomad designs that was passed down through generations. The carpet industry is an important part of Afghanistan’s economy, but events of the last 30 years had a negative impact on domestic carpet weaving.
Currently, the main manufacturers or Peshawar rugs are Afghanistan and Pakistan, but even India has joined the international market for the production of this type of carpet. The presence of Afghani weavers in Northern Pakistan mostly related to war reasons than to the nearness between countries.
Peshawar hosted hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees, who were forced to leave their country because of ongoing conflicts and instability. Afghans brought their ancient practice of carpet weaving to the refugees’ camps. Carpets served to them as a source of income and many weaving centers were established in the city. Currently, Peshawar is the place where most of the rugs weaved in Afghanistan are finished and prepared for export.
Many producers from Afghanistan cannot afford prices for scissoring and washing. Therefore, once the carpets are woven they transport them to Peshawar where these final processes take place and the rugs are ready for the international markets. Peshawar is a center of trade and this helps Afghan weavers, who depend on carpet making.
The peculiar types of rugs that are weaved in Peshawar can be mentioned for their designs, shadowy colors, vegetable dyes and the high-quality wool and silk used for their production. Wool is excellently knotted in the cotton warp while silk is used in the pile. The first-rate materials used for the production of Peshawar rugs make them more durable.
Peshawar rugs became popular because of the tea-washing process. This is a technique that adds to the rugs a golden patina that makes them look ancient even though they can be new. Another important fact about the colors of these rugs is that they rarely exceed the number of eight. Their ivory and green colors and vintage look makes them highly-wanted by interior designers.