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Bijar rugs - strong, durable carpeting 

Iran ("Persia" up until 1934) has been the worldwide leader in producing a wide variety of high quality rugs of distinctive designs for decades. Most of the Oriental rugs sold in the world from 1918 through the 1950's came from Persia/Iran.

So many rugs have come from Iran that "Persian Rug" and "Oriental Rug” has come to mean the same thing to many people. There is a need to carefully differentiate between the two however. "Persian Rugs" come from India, Pakistan, China, or elsewhere, but a "Persian Bijar Rug" can only come from Iran.

A Persian Bijar Rug can come in different sizes, starting from about 3' 3" x 4' x 11" and getting bigger. Large carpets of more than 51 square feet are not unusual. Persian Bijar Rugs are lovely and in high demand, so they are more expensive than similar carpets from the surrounding area. Buyers can expect to pay $9-$25 per square foot for a carpet.

The majority of Bijar Rugs are made with Turkish knots. However, Persian knotted rugs are also found.

Bidjar Rugs are divided into designs categories as follows:

- Traditional Bijars (those with rose motifs)

- Halvai and Tahjavi - Bijars

- Afshar Bidjars are rug designs difficult to define.

They usually have all-over repeating Herati, as well as floras, ornate designs, and medallions. Only the carpets and rugs from the designer Tajhavi and from the little village Halvai are flexible enough to be easily folded. For the third group - the Afshar-Bidjars - the weavers often use the famous Herati motif. A well made Bijar Rug or carpet can go well with antique furniture, and also complement modern and contemporary furniture.

Ground colors are well balanced in a Bijar Rug; produced by blending subtle shaded patterns. Dark blue and a strong red prevail. Brown and yellow are also common, but green is rare. Some old rugs are woven with a combining of light and dark blue.

Persian Rugs have a unique weave that uses a balanced Turkish knot and double weft tightly compressed, thus making them weighty and lasting rugs. The unique horizontal thread system used in the Irani area originated the term Bijar structure. The strong tightness of the wefts pulls the vertical threads into two layers, giving the carpet rigidity. Although the rugs are strong, if not handled properly or folded, it will crack and tear. Persian Bijar Rugs must be rolled for transport.

Because the fibers are always upright, it has a cushioned feel that makes it great to walk upon. For the part of the market that wants comfort, this is an important feature.

Most Bijar Rugs are woven by Kurd and Afshar weavers of the Gerus region around the town in western Iran. This 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 – named for the profusion of willow trees.

Although this small Kurdish town has a population of less than 10,000, its woven carpets have gained it an international reputation. This reputation has led to a clear division being made between the carpets woven in town workshops and the Tekab-Bijar, which are woven by an Afshari tribe that live in the area.

Not all carpets are the same. Antique rugs are very different from newer rugs. Antique rugs tend to be considerably rougher than the new. The warp and weft which is the frame for the knots are far stronger. The heavy weft is thick and straight. The older the rug, the more likely the warp and wefts are made of wool.

The first weft is considerably thicker then the second and it was put in damp and pounded in. This would make a vertical offset of about 85 to 90 degrees thus putting the warps on two different plains. Sometimes the supple horizontal threads will have two singles making some people to say that old Bidjar Rugs have three wefts. But two singles in one are still one weft.

The second weft is thinner and holds the warps firmly in place. The first wool weft is rather unusual. It is thick, sometimes almost as thick as a pencil, and has a lot of twist. This makes it very strong and rigid.

The biggest difference between the new and the old carpets is the look. The old ones used large bold patterns in red, blue, white and yellow. New rugs are becoming more floral. With each passing year, rug weavers are using more things like pink roses.

Traditionally, many Iranian rugs are sold in Europe and America by dealers of Iranian descent. This has led to a mistaken belief that Iran exports the "best" Oriental rugs. There certainly are magnificent old and new rugs from Iran, but there are as also many poorly made, junky old and new carpets from Iran as well as from Turkey, Afghanistan, India, or elsewhere. A particular country of origin is in no way a guarantee of quality. A rug customer needs the ability to critically evaluate on its own merits any rug offered for possible purchase.

Good quantities of Iranian rugs are available in wholesale and retail markets in America today, with types and quality ranging all over the map.

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