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Lolan Mustafa, director of the Kurdish Textile Museum in Erbil, has long had a passion for Kurdish culture and handicrafts.
"From childhood I have been interested in Kurdish textiles.
It is here that the lost art of weaving and handicrafts is being re-taught.It is almost impossible to find a carpet or kilim produced in the Kurdistan region of Iraq after the mid-1980s.Following various Kurdish uprisings in the 1960s and 1970s, Saddam Hussein’s regime embarked on a mission to destroy the villages in Kurdistan, and with it much of the unwritten history and culture of Iraqi Kurds.The local Directorate of Antiquities granted him a six-month lease for one of the large houses in the citadel. It has just undergone a refurbishment and officially reopened this month.Traditionally the carpets and kilims exhibited in the museum were woven in the villages of Iraqi Kurdistan, or by nomadic Kurdish tribes, on small transportable looms, which were often hung from door frames.
The culmination was the 1988 Anfal campaign, which Kurds consider a "genocide", during which the Ba’ath regime waged a systematic assault on more than 4,000 villages in Iraqi Kurdistan.