Bijar rugs (the ‘Iron Carpet of Iran’) are mainly woven by Kurds in Gerus and Afsha areas of Iran. Bijar rugs are unique in that they use two wefts making the carpet extremely heavy, stiff and durable. A thicker weft is beaten down tightly between rows of knots alongside a thinner weft in order to make the pile compact, so thick and dense that it stands vertically, preventing it from lying down. Bijar rugs are exceptionally tough, however, they should not be folded for transportation (they should be rolled) to prevent the tight foundation from cracking.
Antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) tend to be substantially coarser than the new. The warp and weft which is the frame upon which the knots are tied are far more substantial. The heavy weft which gives the Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) it’s characteristic construction is thick and straight. The older the rug the more likely the warp and wefts are to be wool but we see cotton in antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) as well. Warp of Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) is of cotton or, less frequently, goat’s wool. Weft of Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) is cotton and both warp and weft yarn is tightly spun. In old and antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) pieces, warp and weft are of wool. Most Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) are woven by Kurd and Afshar weavers of the Gerus region around the town of BIJAR in western IRAN. Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) are divided into the following formats:
Traditional Bijars (Bijars with rose motifs)
Halvai and Tahjavi-Bijars
Afshar Bijars BIJAR rug designs are difficult to define.
The majority of Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) have Turkish knots. However, Persian knotted pieces are also found. The Guli Farang, translated as “Foreign Flower” antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) pattern is also an all-over repeat, that many believe to be a stylized depiction of cabbage blossoms or a English formal garden. In pieces woven before 1900, this motif usually is performed against a dark blue or ivory ground.
Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) are counted among the best oriental rugs for everyday use because they are extremely tough and rigid. The most common pattern is the Herati (also called fish pattern), but also medallions and floral motifs occur. are manufactured in most sizes, from zaronim (150×100 cm) and larger sizes. They have a sober elegance and fit in most environments. Their durability makes the carpets very suitable for public environments. The region’s weavers have transformed many classic antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) designs with their own interpretations. “Mina khani” and “Herati” Persian rug designs (both highly detailed, overall repeats) and a diamond-shaped medallion were frequently used. An anchor-like design is found in many antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) at the vertical ends of the medallion or as the pendant motif.
Foundation of Bijar rugs can be made of cotton, wool or camel wool depending on the age of the rug. The pile is invariably made of wool, clipped to a medium height. Patterns vary and are indistinguishable to other rugs however Herati and Mina-Khani designs are popular. Colours also vary with navy, cherry red, brown, light blue, pink, yellow, ocher, orange, beige and ivory all being used. The method of identifying a Bijar rug is by its weight and tight structure, unique to other rugs. Sizes vary enormously; it is possibly to find both very small rugs and those much larger in size. Their popularity, strength, durability and the fact that so much work and material is put into their creation means that Bijar rugs are some of the best, and most expensive rugs on the market.
Herti and Mina Khani designs are very common in Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs). You can also find medallion and all-over patterns with multiple borders. Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) are world renowned for their superb artistry, craftsmanship, and excellent material, and can be distinguished by their heavy wool foundation (cotton in twentieth-century rugs). As the weaver tied each row of knots, she added an extra weft and literally pounded down the knots. The stiff, heavy foundation that is thus created allows antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs), known as “the iron rugs of Persia,” to withstand up to 200 years of heavy use. Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) come in different sizes, especially from about 1 x 1.50m (3′ 3″ x 4’x 11″) upwards. Large pieces of over 12 square meters (51 square feet) are common. The examples woven by Kurdish women in the small surrounding villages display an exceptional level of spontaneity. Known as “Kurdish Bijar” to differentiate them from the more finely woven and formal “Bijar” style, the best examples use strong abrash, or tonal changes within one hue, and sometimes radical changes in design. They have the same superb wool and color range as the more finely woven city Bijars.
Ground colors are harmonious, a product of the blending of subtly shaded patterns. Dark blue and a strong red predominate. Brown and yellow are also used, but green is rare. Some old Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) are woven with combinations of light and dark blue. Superbly crafted Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) were produced in the small workshops of Bijar itself, the finest of the area size Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) being called “Halvai.” Many of the best antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs), especially the largest antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs), have been commissioned by Westerners and the Persian nobility for the last several hundred years. Spontaneous, asymmetric antique tribal Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) were woven at the family level throughout the surrounding countryside. Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) have a very dense hard pile, cut medium to high, though old and antique finely woven pieces tend to be clipped lower.
Stylized allover flower and vinery motifs are also found in the small Bijar village pieces and larger city rug alike. Two particularly rare and prized Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) designs are “Garrus” and “Guli Farang.” The Garrus design usually employs a cobalt to midnight indigo blue field and a distinctive large scale all-over pattern of split-arabesques and blossoming vinery in the field, along with a ribbon-like, serpentine and cloudband repeat in the main border. The finest antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) have woven 1900 or before are grand works of refined art, yet they possess tribal elements in their design and coloration which are not found in any other city rugs. Not all Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) are the same. Antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) are very different from newer Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs). The antique Bijar rugs (Bidjar rugs) color palette, from soft to emerald greens, a full range of blues and yellows to fiery rich red, tomato or deep terra cotta, demonstrates the great skill of its dyers. BIJAR is one of the fertile areas of Kurdestan. Its climate is cold and dry in winter and moderate in summer. In the Kurdish language, the willow tree is called ‘Bi’ and an area of such trees is called a ‘Bijar’– the region of willows-so named because of the abundance of willow trees. Although the small Kurdish town of BIJAR in the province of Kermanshah has hardly ten thousand inhabitants, the high quality of its rugs has gained it an international reputation.