If we could name only one best influence on our journey towards our current rug business in Langley, it would undoubtedly be the Badghisi family, who now live and run a carpet weaving business in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The father of the family, Mohamed Ewaz Badghisi, is greatly responsible for inspiring the carpet-making industry in Central Asia, and especially for reviving carpet weaving in Afghanistan. Badghisi, an Afghan of Turkmen origin, began his mission to restore the craft in Afghanistan about 50 years ago. There he and his group of teachers taught tens of thousands Afghans, including many orphans, to weave carpets, as well as how to make vegetable dyes for their weaving.
Carpet weaving had been important in Central Asia until Stalin nationalized industries and pushed the population into communal farms. Rug-making there all but died.
In 1993, Badghisi began a workshop in Samarkand, where he made vegetable dyes and utilized the finest silk from Uzbekistan’s mulberry trees. He now employs about 400 women, providing all with good working conditions and excellent benefits, in accordance with the beliefs of his family. Many of his silk rugs are sold before they leave the looms, and others are ordered in advance by customers from abroad. See: www.silkcarpets.net
My friends, the children of Badghisi, gave us our best memories of Uzbekistan . The women, especially Zainab and Khalida, taught me how to repair holes in rugs and Fred, how to stabilize the ends. We remember many days learning and laughing in their warm household in Samarkand, and eating delicious food (like my favorite,”thrice-cooked onions”), while sitting on the floor.
But especially we remember Abdullah, Badghisi’s son, for his friendship and teaching us about carpets. During our four years living in Uzbekistan, we saw him several times a month. Abdullah is a man of great integrity, and the number of people he has helped in his lifetime will never be known.