- Additional information
Bidjar is a small town that lies in a very pleasant valley about 120 miles north of the city of Hamadan in Persia (Iran). The town was originally the property of Shah Ismail in the fifthteenth century and, until about 125 years ago, remained the property of kings and nobility. Its inhabitants eventually acquired enough wealth and importance to gain possession of the land and houses, which, in Persia, was tantamount to emancipation. It grew from a small village to a town of some 20,000 people until it was occupied by the Russians at the beginning of World War I. The population, never imagining the Russians would evacuate Bidjar, accommodated themselves, as best they could, to the new order. But, because of pressure from the Turkish army, the Russians retreated and the town was occupied by the Turks. The hapless population was then subjected to Turkish retribution for alleged cooperation with the Russians. Food was taken from them and beams from the roofs of houses were burned for firewood; leaving them not only hungry, but homeless as well. This terror let loose was completed by the famine of 1918. The town emerged decimated and did not properly recover until some 40 years ago when, prior to the Iranian revolution, it had once again grown to a population of about 20,000.
Bidjar carpets were woven by Kurdish people of tribal origin. It is said that herein lies the soul of the Bidjar carpet. It is this clear tribal vision of the Kurdish people that is expressed within the relatively formal framework of the production of carpets such as yours. Their daring use of color and almost playful use of design infused a tribal vigor into their work rarely found in carpet production elsewhere in Persia. The rugs and carpets of Bidjar are noted for their extreme toughness and excellent wearing qualities. Noted rug scholar and authority, Arthur Urbane Dilley, wrote, in 1931, and we quote:
“Bidjar rugs, woven both in the town of that name and the surrounding country, are the dreadnought battleships of all rug weaving, so heavy and compact are they of file wool lavishly expended. In consequence, walking on a Bidjar carpet feels no urge to mince steps or wear patent leather. Bidjar rugs, in texture and design, are living room upholstery as distinguished from parlor ornament.” The above description is written due to the unusual techniques used in packing and beating the rows of knots together tightly. The fine, glossy wool obtained from sheep tended by local tribesmen is of immeasurable import in the Bidjar carpets reputation. The knotting itself is Ghiordes – the Turkish method – understandable when we realize that these weavers are descended from marauding Turkish hordes that occupied the area prior to the fourteenth century. They speak a peculiar combination of Persian and Turkish for this reason. The rugs and carpets of Bidjar have always held a special place in the hearts of rug men. Thus, we sum up the Bidjar rug by quoting Mr. A. Cecil Edwards, who spent fifty years in the rug business for the British firm, OCM, thirteen of which in Persia itself. He wrote, as follows, in 1948: “The Bidjar carpet occupies a special place in the estimation of the world. It is a unique fabric. There is none like it in Persia or any other country. Like the Senna, it has remained untouched – no foreign decorator has obtruded his baleful influence in Bidjar. Weave, colors, and designs are all the weavers own. May they continue to preserve their heritage Intact.”