Afghan Carpets are the only ones whose price curve has not rocketed along with the other oriental carpets. This is due more to over – production than to a pattern unchanged within human memory. Almost 95 percent of all these carpets are patterned with large octagons known as “filpa” or “elephant feet”. Afghans were once regarded as typical “men’s study” carpets, or something “genuine” to put under a dining-room table. Today, they are used anywhere a quiet carpet is suitable. The color composition consists of a very warm ox-blood red with streaks of indigo blue and sometimes a few knots of the lamb’s natural beige wool. This gives an attractively harmonic appearance. You will also find in the trade what we call “Golden Afghan”. The majority of these carpets were originally red, and have been toned down to their golden color by a chemical process.

Afghans come in all conceivable sizes. Large carpets of up to 20 * 13ft are not uncommon. Most sold, however, are the dozars – c. 6ft 6in * 4ft – and the “Baby Afghans” c. 4ft * 2ft 9in – whether they have an “elephant foot” or prayer-niche pattern. Extremely interesting examples are to be found among the small carpets intended for camel bags, particularly those made by the Beshir tribe. Since both warp and weft are of lamb’s or goat’s wool, the carpet is very soft. It needs a rubber or felt underlay, if it is not to slip or ruck. If kept in a very humid place or unprofessionally cleaned, the edges of the carpets can become wavy or one side shorter than the other, owing to uneven tensions in the yarn. If this happens, the carpet should be stretched. The carpet is dampened, the sides are pulled out to an even length and nailed fast to the floor. After a few days, the carpet will have regained its original shape. Some carpet firms and cleaners undertake work of this kind.

Older Afghans are still to be found in the trade. These have a rusty brown ground, and usually a broad kilim weave at both short ends. They attract considerably higher prices than the newer carpets, but then their quality is also much higher. In Dowlatabad there is made a heavier, very evenly knotted carpet with a velour-like pile and Bukhara pattern. These cost some 50 percent more than the ordinary Afghans, and are well worth their price. Afghan carpets with less common patterns are more valuable than those with “elephant feet”.

The quality grading’s are as fellow :


No. of knots per inch

length breadth No. of knots per sq in

A            9            9             81

B            8            7             56

C            7            6             42

Dowlatabad carpets

A           13          9            117

B           11          8              88