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A8358 Rug, Mashwani design, wool/animal hair, made by Aimaq women, western Afghanistan, c.1900. Click to enlarge.

Mashwani design rug, western Afghanistan

This wool and animal hair pile rug features a 'latchhook' medallion design known as 'Mashwani' and was most probably woven by an Aimaq woman. Aimaq women are said to be amongst the most versatile textile artists in Central Asia. The rug is representative of a group that were previously attributed to the Baluch, who also use the Mashwani design in their rugs. Significantly however the pile is symmetrically knotted, which is typical of rugs made by the Aimaq but rare for those of the Baluch, who …


Object No.


Object Statement

Rug, Mashwani design, wool/animal hair, made by Aimaq women, western Afghanistan, c.1900

Physical Description

This is a rectantular floor rug of Mashwani design with wool warp and weft. The main field is composed of three large 'latchhook' medallions or diamonds, each with a central gul, in brown, mid-blue, dark blue, khaki, orange and rust. The guard stripes are a single row of reciprocal latchhooks in brown and mid blue. Typically for Mashwani rugs, rather than a meandering vine design, the main border is composed of a geometric pattern using Turkic eight-point star and gul motifs in white, khaki, rust, brown, mid blue and dark blue.

The main materials are wool and animal hair, in this case probably goat hair; these materials are also commonly found in Baluchi rugs. The long side edges are reinforced by overcasting with black animal hair, while each end is finished with 145 mm of weft face plain weave in stripes of khaki, brown, blue and white. Some remnants of overcasting in black and white can be seen along the ends and the natural white warps are cut to create a short fringe.



990 mm



The design of the rug, with its pervasive latch-hook medallions and eight-pointed stars, reflects Turkic traditions and links it to Central Asian patterns. The central motif of the medallions is reminiscent of Kyrgyz repeat designs and the border is very Turkic.

This symmetrically knotted woollen pile rug has been attributed to the women of the Aimaq, a semi-nomadic people. The dyes are primarily organic, with very small amounts of synthetic orange. Iron mordant has been used in the brown field colour as evidenced by some corrosion caused by the corrosive properties of iron.



The rug was purchased for the Powerhouse Museum in 1982 from Ross and Irene Langlands of Nomadic Rug Traders, Sydney.


Credit Line

Purchased 1982

Acquisition Date

3 August 1982

Cite this Object


Mashwani design rug, western Afghanistan 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 3 December 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Mashwani design rug, western Afghanistan |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=3 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}