The Great Game

Nobody knows just when a board game titled “Safe Travel through Afghanistan” was invented. Most likely, it was some time in the 60s or 70s, when it was safe to travel in Afghanistan.  Not earlier, given the presence of the Ariana Boeing 727 in the center of the image. Nevertheless, here it is, reproduced in the form of a carpet, probably made in the last few years.

Perhaps it was some mad spirit of ironic optimism that caused this to be transformed into a furry picture?  Or some lost-in-translation lack of understanding of the contemporary implications of the original graphic? Whatever, it certainly confuses one’s understanding of the emblematic use of the map of Afghanistan in all its other different political contexts. No matter what was its makers’ intent, iconophilia here shares it with you (wherever you may be) in our well-intentioned and peaceful tradition of greetings for the festive season…

(and thanks to Rob Little for the photograph).


#1 Luca Brancati on 12.17.11 at 7:59 pm

But, is it an Afghan Rug? It seems a Persian one, or a rug made in a refugee camp in Iran

#2 Nigel on 12.18.11 at 8:51 am

Thanks Luca. That’s a question that could apply to many carpets available in Herat these days… It’s unused – which could either mean that it’s brand new, or, if it is the product of an Iranian refugee camp, that it has been sitting in a stack of carpets somewhere for thirty years. Either is possible.

#3 Nigel on 12.19.11 at 4:37 pm

And as Hossein Valamanesh has just pointed out, it’s six years old: “The date on the carpet is 30 / 3 / 1384 Today is 27 / 8 / 1390 which makes it 6 years & five months old”.

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