History of Bidjar Persian Rugs
Bidjar Persian rugs like most antique oriental rugs are named for the area in which they were woven. Bijar is a small city in Northwestern Iran about 150 miles south of Tabriz. The town of Bijar and surrounding countryside are mainly populated by Kurds. Kurdish culture and artistic ability are clearly visible in the quality of the region’s antique carpets. Though a small town (population 20,000 in 1900), Bijar was at the center of a major weaving area that became well-known throughout the world for the very high-quality rugs produced in the small workshops of Bijar and often in homes throughout the surrounding countryside as a family undertaking. Somewhere between the sophisticated city rugs and the more primitive village and tribal rugs, lie the rugs of Bijar. Westerners and Persian nobility have commissioned the Kurdish weavers of the Bijar region for the last several hundred years to produce these almost magical carpets, the finest of which are called “Halvai.”
Structure of Bidjar Rugs
Antique Bijar carpets have an unusual feature that few other rugs can claim. The heavy, densely-packed wool pile is so tight that it cannot lay down. Because the fibers are constantly held erect, when you step on the rug, it has a cushioned feel that is incredibly luxurious to walk on. For those of whom sensuousness is important, this is a unique and compelling feature. This extremely tight weave of antique Bijar rugs also makes them exceptionally strong and durable. Robust and resilient enough to be used in heavily trafficked areas, it is known as the ‘Iron Rug’ of Persia. Newer Bijar rugs, sad to say, do not offer this same unique level of cushioning or durability.
Antique Bijar rugs tend to display time-honored Persian rug formats with an emphasis on bold medallions, spandrels, repeating arabesques, dramatic borders often utilizing repeated Herati patterns of flowers centered within diamonds, with four curled leaves that resemble fish issuing from each diamond. Lush wool quality, unusually saturated coloration and playful interpretation of well-known designs make antique Bidjar Persian Rugs excel. Sometimes thought of as a man’s carpet due to its strength and tactile qualities, antique Bidjar rugs are one of the most sought-after carpets in the American market. And for good reason; they are a perfect fit in traditional country interiors where the prevalent palette of navy blue, cherry red, brown, light blue, pink, yellow, ocher and beige are the perfect companions to American or English furniture.