The authenticity of this work has been kindly confirmed by the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome.
Translation of the Italian text:
Six hundred twenty-five letters, which alternate and divide themselves, yield the hundred colours, the colours of the world, and then become one single colour, the colour of the Earth, and then once again divide themselves, and then disappear, and lose themselves in time, the time of becoming, and then become wind. In Peshawar, Pakistan, Alighiero e Boetti and the Sufi Berang, in the spring of the year nineteen hundred eighty-eight.
Translation of the Farsi Text:
The embroidery of Alighiero e Boetti has been made in co-operation with his Afghani friend Shah Wali from Peshawar, Pakistan. As his father and grandfather once fought the holy war against the attack by Genghis with only their religious faith and their empty hands, and were successful in shattering these blood-covered enemies of Islam, the Afghan people now also fight with the help of the almighty god against the invader regime of Russia and also won this battle and is victorious. As long as the world exists, the enemies must feel ashamed and they will never forget their defeat
In his Arazzo, Alighiero Boetti aimed to create a visual fusion of Eastern and Western thought and ideology and through this fusion expose the union and division that exists in the world. Founded on his principles of ordine e disordine (the notion that the world consists entirely of a ying and yang-like division of order and disorder), the Arazzi are a colourful composite of organised disorder. Consisting of individual coloured letters each highlighted or obscured against a contrasting square coloured background, determined by the Afghan women who embroidered these works according to Boetti's guidelines, the Arazzi are essentially written texts. By splitting the text into its own constituent parts - its individual letters - Boetti exposes language as a sophisticated but nonetheless artificial systematic arrangement of form. At the same time, the majority of Arazzi contain an alternative text in Farsi (the language spoken in Afghanistan) which is alternated with the Italian text. This mixing of the languages along with the fact that Boetti had the works made in Afghanistan, symbolises the traditional differences between East and West, while at the same time uniting them within the creative process, and exposing both as different systematic products of human thought.
Within Islam there is a long tradition of mysticism associated with the signs of letters and over time many complex mathematical and linguistic systems were devised using the organising principles of sacred geometry or sacred calligraphy, for example, to interweave numbers, images and texts into harmonious visual patterns that celebrate and worship God. As a young man Boetti had been fascinated by the example of his ancestor, the Dominican Giovanni Battista Boetti who, initially active as a Missionary in Mossul in the 18th Century, converted to Islam and became a Sufi mystic. Much of the hermetic and mystic thought in Boetti's work closely relates to the ideas and principles of Sufism, as is outlined in this Arazzo, which declares itself to have be co-authored by Boetti's Sufi master Berang. In the late 1980s Boetti created a number of Arazzi with the Sufi Berang often alternating the titles of his own art works with the poems of his Sufi master creating a visual juxtaposition that once again underscores Boetti's aim to interweave Eastern and Western thought into a universal holistic order.