Antique Bidjar Rugs & Carpets The O'Connell Guide
Not all Bidjar rugs are the same. Antique Bidjar rugs are very different from newer Bidjar rugs. Antique 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 Bidjar 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 rugs as well.
Bidjar rugs and carpets have long had a mystique that makes them a "man's rug".Called the Iron rug of Persia they have an odd feature that few other rugs can match. The densely packed pile is so tight that the pile cannot lay down. Because the fibers are constantly erect when you step on the rug it has a cushioned feel that makes it great to walk upon. For the large segment of the market for whom tactile qualities are important this is a compelling feature even if barely one in one thousand could ever explain why. In between Iranian City and the less sophisticated village and tribal rugs are the rugs of Bijar.
Prized for their sturdy construction and durability Bidjar rugs are one of the most sought after furnishings rugs particularly in the American market. Now as the market matures the very nature of Bidjar are changing into two distinct rugs, the new Bidjar and the old Bidjar.
The old Bijar tends to be coarser then the new. Bijar rugs have two wefts. Traditionally the wefts were wool, The first weft is substantially thicker then the second and it was inserted damp and pounded in compressing the rug and separating the warps. This would create a warp offset of about 85 to 90 degrees thus putting the warps on two separate plains. The second weft is thinner and holds the warps firmly in place. The first wool weft is rather unusual. It is thick sometimes almost pencil thick and has a high degree of twist. This makes it a very strong rigid weft. Sometimes the sinuous weft will have two singles causing some people to say that old Bijar rugs have three wefts. Just remember that tow singles in one shed are still one weft.
The newer Bijars are similar but the wefts are the same in each shot and it is a less substantial rug. Part of this has to do the gradual trend over the last 50 years to make the Bijar finer. This is a problem. The more expensive Bijars have become very similar to Sarouk Rugs with knot counts climbing over 300 kpsi.
The major difference between the new and the old Bijar carpets deals with the look. The old tended to use large bold patterns in red, blue white and yellow giving an over all look that that appeal to men in the west. The newer ones are becoming increasingly floral. As each year goes by Bijar rugs become increasing dependent on such things as pink roses. I can only assume that at some point substantial prices combined with an increasingly feminine look will cut into the popularity of the Bijar.
Bijar is a Kurdish area. When I was at State department there was an Iraqi Kurd who fled Iraq when Saddam Hussein cracked down on the Pro-American Kurds. When he and his family had to flee they settled in Bijar in the refugee camps until they could get visas for the States. He mentioned that they were Shia Kurds who spoke a different dialect of Kurdish then he spoke. Later on the summers Institute of Linguistics had some question about the proper division of dialects of Eastern Kurdish. So they question they posed to me was where did the Garrusi/Bijari dialect fit into the overall scheme of Kordestani Kurdish. Thanks to dear friend Parham Sayahi and his wife I was able to determine that Gerrusi/Bijari is a separate branch of Kurdish from that which is spoken in the rest of Kordestan. When we look at the Kurds of Mahabad , Sanandaj, and Kermanshah areas we see they are Sunni Moslems while the Garrusi?Bijari Kurds are Shia. At the risk of seeming provocative I suggest that the Garrusi/Bijari Kurds were in Xaqichivan Azerbaijan until the 18th century.
Antique Bidjar Persian Rug Nazmiyal 43570