Afghan Bokhara carpets, hand-crafted by both nomadic weavers and workshops, are one of the most widely imported rugs from Afghanistan. Rugs from Afghanistan tend to be quite stylized with a limited number of colors. The Afghan guls and the Ersari are similar to the “Bokhara” in pattern and color and the basis for most Afghanistan rugs, often referred to as “Afghan Bokharas”. Another popular type of carpet from this area is the Balutch, which are primarily made by nomadic tribesmen of Afghanistan and Iran. The Afghan Balutch weavers are particularly fond of prayer rugs in darker colors which primarily utilize geometric patterns. The relatively simple Afghan design is quite easy to copy, which is why you’ll find “Afghans” that have been made throughout India, North Africa, and a number of other areas.
The warps and wefts of Afghan rugs are usually wool, with an exception of occasional carpets made with a foundation of goat hair. The quality of Afghan rugs can range from coarse to medium, with 25 to 75 knots per square inch. These carpets are available in a wide variety of sizes, from 3 by 2 feet to 14 by 10 feet.
Some of these Afghan-style rugs go through a process called “gold washing.” This is a process where the original red color is chemically changed to shades of gold, coral and amber. This effect is quite pleasing and often adds more value to the carpet. To determine if a carpet has undergone this procedure, spread out the carpets pile to expose the knots underneath, which will remain unbleached and in the original red color.
Afghans are some of the most modestly priced handmade carpets available, and they are a great value. However, only antique Afghan carpets should be considered “collectable pieces.”
The price range and value of Afghan Bokharas are from low – medium.