Design of Bidjar Rug (Rugman)
|Original name||قالی بیجار|
|Alternative name(s)||Bidjar Carpet (Iron Rug, Gros Rug)|
|Common designs||Herati, Medallion, Geometric, Vagireh, Hunting, Mihrab|
|Common colors||Crimson, Navy Blue, Green, Blue, Yellow, Begie|
|Dyeing method||Natural, Synthetic|
|Pile material||Wool, Silk|
|Knot type||Symmetrical (Turkish), Asymmetrical (Persian)|
Perhaps the most durable rug on earth, known to auctioneers as 'the carpet of steel', the unique Bidjar does more than look attractive. These indestructible rugs are woven by tough Kurdish people in the north-western town of Bidjar. Rich jewel tones in simple geometry, thick pile, structural strength and enormous weight mark the Bidjar. They are often imitated but never duplicated, because no other region uses the wet-loom technique adopted by the weavers of this city. This means constantly keeping wet the wool, warp, and weft during the long process of weaving, and beating down rows of weft with a comb at frequent intervals. The materials therefore tighten and shrink slightly when the rug is dried, making the piece extremely dense and strong. The Bidjars can have an all-over field, but more often a series of expanding hexagonal diamond medallions is seen. The friendly, peaceful people of Bidjar have earned one of the richest reputations in all of Asia for their highly prized carpets. Bidjars not only go well with modern or traditional interiors, but because of their incredible durability, these rugs are ideal for high-traffic areas such as a main entrances, corridors or kitchens.
Bidjar, also spelled Bijar, is a city located in the Kurdistan Province of northwestern Iran. The city was formally called Gerrus during the Qajar period. Kurdish tribes who can trace their weaving tradition back for centuries populate Bidjar. The city is a market center in the region. Bidjar carpets are known in the market from the mid-nineteenth century. Early Bidjar carpets and rugs were commissioned by Kurd khans for their own personal use and as gifts to government officials.
Bidjar carpets are universally famous for their durability and large palace sizes. The carpets have a tightly compacted triple-weft weave, making them particularly strong and heavy.
The designs are mostly semigeometric to floral in either an allover or medallion style. The weavers employed traditional designs of large Shah Abbas palmettes with leaves and vines, Arabesques (eslim), and the Boteh (paisley), Flower Bouquet, Herati (fish), Lattice, Shrub, various trees, repeated lions with palmettes, and Minakhani (rosette-linked trellis) motifs, along with medallions in an Open Field style, among others. Early Bidjars sometimes used tribal motifs and animals along with traditional designs in the field and corners of the carpet. Another popular layout has one or multiple medallions in a lozenge or hexagonal shape with pendants. Open fields have always been popular with Bidjar weavers. The border designs have palmettes with arabesques, Cloudband, and knotted ribbon motifs, or large leaves and vines.
Bidjar weavers also made Tricliniun Carpets. Khanate rulers originally commissioned these carpets for dining with family or government officials. A Triclinium carpet is woven into four designed parts. These early carpets included two identical runners on both sides with two gallery sizes on the top and in the middle of the carpet. The weavers of Bidjar made rug samples, called Wagireh, to use as a design cartoon in carpet weaving. Wagireh rugs have partial design motifs of the background, borders, and medallion to enable weavers to follow the pattern. To complete a carpet, the Wagireh design would be duplicated by mirror image; for a larger carpet the design would be woven numerous times. Early Bidjar carpet coloration has reds, dark blues, ivory, and camel in the background. These colors are interchangeable for the border. In addition to these color choices, different shades of blue, green, brown, gold, and rust are applied in the medallions, design elements, design outlines, and minor borders.
The carpets have either a wool or, later, a cotton foundation and a wool pile.The Turkish (symmetric) knot is always employed. Rare examples of very fine Bidjar rugs were made with a silk foundation and a wool or silk pile. These rugs, at times, were woven with inscriptions and presented as gifts to ministers during the Qajar period. In the second half of the nineteenth century Bidjar weavers also made a limited number of flanvoven rugs with French Flower Bouquet designs. Some of these weavings were made with a silk warp.
The formats range from small mats to palace-size carpets. Runners and gallery carpets are also made. Bidjars range from very good to fine in grade quality. Some European dealers have nicknamed Bidjars the "Iron Carpets" because of their durability. As of late some early woven Bidjar carpets are presented in the trade as "Gerrus" to pay homage to the city's former name. Occasionally, in the antique market Bidjar carpets are described as Afshar Bidjars to credit Afshar weaving tribe members who produced the carpet. Bidjar carpets are popular floor coverings in the antique market. The coloration and designs are charming, and the weavings are in demand by consumers worldwide.
- Moheban, 2015, 106-109
- Abraham Levi Moheban. 2015. The Encyclopedia of Antique Carpets: Twenty-Five Centuries of Weaving. NewYork: Princeton Architectural Press.