Bijar rugs are woven in the city of Bijar and its surrounding villages in the province of Kurdistan in north-western Iran. Like many of the traditional Persian rug weavers, the rug makers of Bijar have no large-scale industrial weaving facility. All the rugs are home produced by individual weavers, which means that each rug is completely unique. Because of its location, several tribes that passed by the region, settled down in Bijar and stayed awhile before packing up and moving on. Each tribe imbued their own influence on the weaving culture of the region, resulting in a distinct rug weaving style that is different from the style used in any other type of Persian rug.
Construction Of Bijar Rugs
Bijar rugs are dense, heavy and tough. This is attributed to several different factors.
Firstly, the rugs are woven against a hard, thick backing material.
Secondly, as the knots are made, they are continually beaten or thrashed, which causes the wool to puff up and creates a fabric that is heavy and dense. While this makes the rug exceptionally sturdy, because it is so compact, the foundation is more likely to break if the rug is folded. Bijar rugs should always be rolled for transporting or while in storage.
The weft of these rugs is typically woolen. In constructing the weft, weavers first wet the material, after which they pull and separate the strands. This causes the wool weft to look and feel coarse, giving the appearance that there are 3 wefts and not just 2 as in most Persian rugs.
Hallmark Features of Bijar Rugs
Traditional Bijar rugs differ significantly from the newer versions. The older rug were woven using patterns and colors that leaned more towards male preferences – geometric motifs, stylized animals and curvilinear designs in blue, brown, white, yellow and red. Over the last few years the trend has shifted, with more and more weavers incorporating florals and feminine colors into rugs.
The characteristic motif of these rugs is the herati motif. Some weavers use it in abundance in their creations, using the motif to form an all-over design. When the all-over design was used, the entire rug with the exception of the borders is filled with herati motifs. Other weavers prefer to incorporate the herati motif in the medallion layout style. Boteh, mina-khani, zell-i-sultan and gul farangi are some of the other motifs that can be seen in Bijar rugs.
Another distinctive feature of these rugs lies in the way the borders are designed. Unlike other Persian rugs, Bijar rugs do not have one single predominant border. Instead they have multiple minor borders. These borders are filled with small motifs, the most common of which is the Shah Abbasi motif.
The other common pattern that these weavers tended to create was that of several hexagon shaped medallions nestled within each other. The hexagons were created using different colors and they were woven inside each other with the smallest medallion in the center and each covering hexagon getting progressively larger.
The construction, toughness and unique designs all contribute to the growing popularity of Bijar rugs.