Fine Persian Rugs from Kurdish, Iran
The Bijar or Bidjar rug is made in the Kurdish area of North-west Iran, and are known for their style and also for their weight, which makes them almost unique among the rugs traditionally known as Persian carpets. Bijar rugs have been woven by the Kurdish tribe’s people for many hundreds of years, although the Afshar tribes in Southern Iran have recently begun to make a much finer and more stylised version of this rug. Many Western collectors are familiar with this style of rug, both in the traditional forms and the more modern styles which have been developed in the last century or two.
The Location of the Bijar Rug
The rugs are made in the Bijar area of Northwest Iran, around the town of Bijar and its outlying villages. The town is in Kurdistan region in Iran, and while there are many Kurds outside of this area, the Bijar rug is mainly associated with the weavers of this particular district. The city of Bijar is at the heart of the former Persian Empire, and lies close to the historical rug-making centre, Tabriz. The city is still at the centre of traditional Kurdish influence, and over time has seen many different people settle in the area, from Turks and Azerbaijanis to Kurds migrated from Iraq and from other parts of Iran. This has all gone to create a unique area which has a very diverse culture, all of which is represented in the unique styles of the rugs.
The Colours of the Bijar Rug
The Bijar Persian rug can feature a variety of different colours, but the traditional weavers tend to have a very limited palette with colours such as blues, browns, reds, whites and yellows being the main colours, both in traditional rugs and in the modern form. The older styles of Bijar would concentrate upon patterns in red, yellow, white and blue, which are considered to be attractive to men, and the Bijar rug has gained a reputation as a ‘man’s rug’. The newer styles have tended to focus upon more feminine colours, with such things as pink roses being seen.
The Design of the Bijar Rug
The Bijar rug is known for its geometric and curved designs, with many curvilinear features being common. The traditional Kurdish designs feature many different styles of patters, including floral and animal features, as well as geometric designs. The rugs are particularly noted for their Persian curvilinear designs, although they can also feature medallion-styled motifs which resemble the Afshar rugs. You can also find a particular feature of the Bijar rug, which is a six-sided lozenge which is repeated inside itself three or four times, each one in a different colour. The traditional antique rugs have tended to feature lions as a particular motif, with some floral patterns, although both of these were highly stylised and did not affect the overall geometric feel of the rug.
The History of the Bijar Rug
The Bijar rug has long been a popular purchase by Western collectors, because the best quality Persian carpets are considered to originate from Kurdish weavers. Although they have been partially isolated by their nomadic lifestyle, it has also allowed them to experience a range of different cultures, which can easily be seen when looking at antique rugs. There are a wide range of designs which demonstrate how the weavers of Bijar have come to learn from their neighbours, but this can sometimes make them difficult to distinguish from close-by carpet weavers, purely on style alone. The designs of the rug make it clear that the Kurdish people have been making them for hundreds of years, with European heraldic images, Persian abstracts and bare backgrounds reminiscent of Middle-Eastern carpet designs. The historical features of the Bijar rug include the fact that they tended to be small, rather than large, and they were often made using goat hair and Persian knot styles, which added to the stiffness of the knots. This has meant that some of the oldest types of Bijar rugs are very coarse to the touch, and cannot be folded over as you might expect from a carpet or rug, while pieces produced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and those made in nearby regions, tend to be lighter. Collectors particularly look for rugs which have the signature of Taghavi or Tajhavi, master weaver of the Bijar region, and which are particularly noted for their fine designs and details.
The Uniqueness of the Bijar Rug
The Bijar rug is famously known as the ‘iron rug’ of Iran, due to its toughness. The backing material against which the rug is woven tends to be very dense and hard-working. In addition, the knots made by the weavers are beaten or thrashed during the process in order to create a dense, heavy fabric where the wool fibres are puffed up due to the beating and weaving motions. Like many of the traditional tribe weavers of Iran, the rug makers of Bijar have no large-scale industrial weaving, and instead most of the rugs are home-produced. This means that each rug is completely unique, and that there will not be any copies of each rug. The particular weft of the Bijar rug is also unique, with the antique wool weft being made by wetting the material and then pulling out the different stands, so that parts of the single weft could be at 90 degree angles to each other. This gave the wool a unique twist which helped to coarsen the wool. Some people have argued that these older rugs have three wefts, but this is an optical illusion caused by the angling of the wool. The modern weft tends to concentrate upon holding the strands in place, which sometimes means that the rug is finer and less traditional. In addition, the newer rugs tend to be larger than the older pieces, which again changes the appearance of the Bijar rug.
Of course, a high-end European machine made rug is serviceable, but it can never replace the soul, vibrancy, imperfections, colour and the history woven into a good Persian rug.
When I was a child I used to go and stay over the summer with my grandparents in the city of Qum.
My grandfather was a Rang-raz (silk dyer) and he use take me to his workshop almost every morning. I remember seeing dry vegetable matter such as onion skin, walnut skin, pomegranate skin and dry root of madder, and indigo boiling in large terracotta pots. My grandfather would put raw and washed spun wool or silk in the pots and they would boil all day. The wool underwent multiple processes of washing and drying before being sold to weavers who would sometimes also rent a map to follow for their design. My duty at the family shop was to colour in the graphs which my uncle drew on the graphic paper. At the time I found it most boring and missed playing soccer with my friends, but now I wish I had learned more from my wise and experienced grandfather before he died in 1984.
One of reasons that some Persian rugs made today don’t look as beautiful as the old cottage weaves is because artisans like my grandfather left no written evidence of their art and knowledge. We are left only to regret and treasure the old pieces that they created.
The Bijar (or Bidjar) rug is made in the Kurdish area of North-west Iran, and are known for their style and also for their weight, which makes them almost unique among the rugs traditionally known as Persian carpets. Bijar rugs have been woven by the Kurdish tribes people for many hundreds of years, although the Afshar tribes in Southern Iran have recently begun to make a much finer and more stylised version of this rug. Many Western collectors are familiar with this style of rug, both in the traditional forms and the more modern styles which have been developed in the last century or two.
The Location of the Bijar Rug
The rugs are made in the Bijar area of Northwest Iran, around the town of Bijar and its outlying villages. The town is in the parts of Kurdistan which lie within Iran, and while there are many Kurds outside of this area, the Bijar rug is mainly associated with the weavers of this particular district. The city of Bijar is at the heart of the former Persian empire, and lies close to the historical rug-making centre, Tabriz. The city is still at the centre of traditional Kurdish influence, and over time has seen many different people settle in the area, from Turks and Azerbaijanis to those from Iraq and from other parts of Iran. This has all gone to create a unique area which has a very diverse culture, all of which is represented in the unique styles of the rugs.
Kashan is a city in North Central Iran. If you want to picture what the province was once like, imagine an oasis village located at the edge of the Dasht-e Kavir or Great Salt desert. Despite its proximity to the desert, Kashan received water and nourishment from water flowing from the mountains to its west. Its charm lied in the stark contrast between seas of sand and the color of lush greenery.
Throughout history, Kashan has played an important role in Persia. Political events aside, it has been known for its art. It takes pride in a rich tradition of hand-woven rugs, silk, textiles, and ceramic tiles.
The Fars Rug
Shiraz carpet is made in the Fars region of Iran by nomadic tribes living in the area, including the Qashqai. These rugs are generally well-known for their distinctive red wool, and for being hand-made amongst the tribes people of the region. These Persian rugs often feature a range of carpet designs which are found elsewhere in the region of the city, and they may also feature naturalistic representations of animals, plain stripes or geometric designs which give them their basic Persian carpet look. These carpets are available in a range of sizes, and can also be found with pile on both sides of the rug, with these originally being used as blankets. If you are looking for a unique collector’s item, then a Shiraz rug might give you what you need.
The Location for the Shiraz Rug
Shiraz Rugs are made in the Fars region of Iran, around the city of Shiraz, close to where the ancient Persian city of Persepolis was once located. This connects the rug-making modern city back to ancient and even Neolithic periods, but also means that Shiraz is an important trading site, with links to major cities in Iran and throughout the Middle East. A major weaving area of Shiraz is the Bolvardi, once a nearby town which has now been swallowed up by the sprawling city. The major makers of the rugs are the Qashqai tribes people, known for their unique take on the Shiraz Persian carpet.
The Colours of a Shiraz Rug
The two main colours of the Shiraz rug are blue and red. Red tends to be the background colour, against which the other parts of the palette are worked, while blue is often used to fill in the diamond shapes which often feature in the carpets. While the red colour may be used to the edge of the carpet, there tends to be at least one, and usually two or more bands of light colour, either white or cream, against which designs are picked out in greens, reds, yellows and browns. Although red is the predominant colour, it is possible to find carpets made from a combination of yellows and browns, as well as some which contain black wool. Although red it the traditional colour, it is also possible to find rugs woven solely in blue, in yellow, or in white, with small motifs sewn on by hand after the rug has been woven. All of these features mean that selecting a Shiraz rug to suit your needs has never been easier, and you can find one to suit your room’s palette easily.
The Design of a Shiraz Rug
There are two main designs for the Shiraz rug, both reflecting the history and culture of the city. Roses and floral designs feature heavily in the rug, not least because Shiraz is often called the City of Roses. In addition, the other design is that of the diamond. This may be a single central motif, or one which is repeated along the length of a larger carpet. The diamond will sometimes feature an internal motif which can be that of a tree, or another geometric pattern. The two borders will usually be square or rectangular, and will feature a range of different designs, including pine trees, palm leaves and flowers. There may also be more abstract designs, too, such as circles and round objects. Perhaps the most well-known design is that attributed to the rug makers of Ghashghai, which features a cypress and lily-of-the-valley combination. It is widely recognised as one of the traditional Persian carpets which area a feature of many western homes, but is only one of the many designs made by the weavers of Shiraz. Sometimes the weavers will also create rugs with a repeating pattern of blocks of red, white and orange, which are much less complex than the traditional style of a Persian carpet, or simply as a single block of colour without any design at all.
The History of the Shiraz Rug
There is a long history of carpet and rug making in the Shiraz region, with some carpets dating back 5 or 6 hundred years. It was during the reign of the Safavid family in the 16th and 17th centuries that rug making in the area became popular, and during the 18th century the practice took off as a way of making money from European tourists. At this time period, the rugs were complex and more stylish, featuring geometric designs and the large borders which are a feature of the Shiraz rug. Although some have argued that Shiraz rugs are not top-drawer, unlike some from nearby regions, the carpets themselves are very soft and skilfully woven, which makes the rugs more suitable for display purposes, rather than for use on the floor. A number of designs have been created in this area, demonstrating the durability of rug making in the area.
The Uniqueness of the Shiraz Rug
There are a number of unique features which help the collector to pick out a Shiraz rug. Firstly, the colour scheme of red and blue will be noted on most genuine carpets. Secondly, you should be able to note a large border which will feature many motifs and symbolic designs. There will additionally be a number of medallions across the centre of the carpet, often coloured in blue or white, and frequently with a yellow or cream border. However, just because this is the typical design does not mean that you must see those features in order for it to be a genuine carpet. More often than not, you will find that these unique rugs are slightly out of true, with one edge being slightly higher than the other. This is a sign of it being hand-woven. Shiraz carpets may also be small, woven in stripes, but will usually be red and made to a very fine and delicate texture, often without a fringe which is another unique feature to note when you are looking for a Shiraz rug.
Part of Persian heritage is the city of Isfahan. Today, Isfahan is one of the largest cities in Iran, and the capital of Isfahan Province. Plotted south of the province of Tehran on the map, it was once considered a centre of trade and art back in days of old.
Like many Iranian provinces, it has its share of rich history and culture. Isfahan’s glory days peaked during the Safavid Empire, from 1501 to 1722, when Iran flourished as a hub for architecture, philosophy, poetry, and art. In fact, it was during this period that Isfahan was pronounced Iran’s capital for a few years.
Let us take a look back at Isfahan during its zenith. Beautiful architectural mosques, homes, and buildings were sprouting up. Interiors were garnished with engraving and accented by art. We can easily see how weavers took much inspiration from the world around them. And so it was during this time that weaving peaked.
Yalameh is a well-known name in tribal Persian rug weaving. Yalameh is the name of a village in Char Mahal Bakhtiar state in southern Iran, which, since 1920 has become home for Turkish-speaking Qashqai nomad families. Natural vegetable dyes are widely used in Yalameh carpets and the wool used is locally produced and famous for its soft texture and beautiful sheen.
Tribal Rugs purchased from us are unique and inexpensive.
During our trips to Iran we seek out and buy the most interesting village produced rugs which we call: woven modern arts.
These Persian rugs are sold at the most affordable prices possible and they can transform your room to a beautiful and warm living environment.
The city of Yazd has a long history of fine textile weaving, in particular hand-loom silk fabrics. Due to the arrival of machine-made fabrics, weavers in Yazd started to learn and practice carpet weaving instead. Read More