The mountainous areas of these two western provinces of Iran are very suitable for grazing sheep and cattle. The main weaving centres in Kordestan are Sanandaj (the capital of the province once known as Senneh) and Bijar, In the province of Kerrnanshahan only a few centres such as Kermanshah and Sonqhor-Kolyai produce carpets. The quality of carpets in these later cities is not as good as those of Sanandaj and Bijar . In Kerrnanshah and its surrounding villages most of the rugs are woven in the form of runners and are thick-piled.
A few centuries ago many beautiful carpets were woven in Sanandaj and Bijar, Unfortunately, the quality of the more recent carpets in Kordestan is not as good as those woven previously. The designs of Sanandaj carpets are mostly monotonous and in these last two centuries the designers and weavers have taken many steps to improve or re¬touch the former designs. Floral designs are strongly stylised and differ greatly depending on the tribal style and tradition. The design that is most preferred by the weavers is the "Batteh". This motif is repeated in a parallel line several times in row on the background of the carpet.
Anyhow this design is different from those of Ghom, Arak, Kerman and Birjand.
One other design that is woven by the able craftsmen is the Hersu design, also known as "Mahi Zanbun"(fish-bee). Although the Persian knot is known as "Senneh", the weavers of the area prefer the Turkish knot instead of using the knot that bears the name of their own town. Carpets woven in Sanandaj are very thin, short-piled and have one weft after each row of knots.
In Sanandaj, they often weave "Zar-a-nim" and "Sajjadeh"sizes. The dyers are very precise in their profession. They usually use blue, dark blue, brilliant red, yellow, brown and light pistachio colours. Synthetic dyes are found rather infrequently. The wool used to weave the carpets is hand-spun and very thin.
BIJAR is one of the fertile areas of Kurdistan. 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 only about ten thousand inhabitants, the high quality of its carpets has gained it an international reputation. Concern for this reputation for high quality led to a clear distinction being made between the products of the BIJAR town workshops and the Tekab-BIJAR, which are woven by an Afshari tribe that settled in the area.
BIJAR rugs have a very unique weave that uses the symmetrical Turkish knot and double weft compacted very tightly, thus making them heavy and durable rugs. The characteristic weft technique used in the Kurdish BIJAR area gave rise to the term BIJAR structure. The strong tension of the weft pulls the warp into two layers, giving the carpet a certain rigidity. Though strong, if handled carelessly or folded, it will crack and tear. Bijar is one of the fine weaves of Iran and carpet weaving in this area has been a traditional occupation for hundreds of years. Throughout their history the weavers of Bijar have used up to three and even five wefts in each row of knots. This is a much heavier carpet than the typical Sanandaj style. They should always be rolled instead of folded before being moved. There are various designs in Bijar carpets. Some of the dominant designs, are as follows: Batteh, Harati, Mina-khani, Zell-e-sultan, Galfarang (flower bouquets). The size of Bijar carpets is approximately 1.5 up to 10 square metres. Runners are relatively rare. All the carpets of this area have Ghiordes (Turkish) knots and are thick¬piled. The dominant colours in this region are red, blue, indigo, ivory and pink.
Carpets with a BIJAR structure therefore must be rolled for transport. Most BIJAR rugs are woven by Kurd and Afshar weavers of the Gerus region around the town of BIJAR in western IRAN. Bijar carpets 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. They usually have all-over repeating Herati, as well as floras, Arabesques, 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; you can find these carpets in different qualities. BIJAR rugs and carpets not only go well with antique furniture, they beautifully complement modern and contemporary furniture, as well.
Herti and Mina Khani designs are very common in BIJAR Kurdish rugs. You can also find medallion and all-over patterns with multiple borders. BIJAR carpets are considered as the best oriental carpets for everyday use because they are extremely tough and rigid. Modern BIJAR workshop carpets are still of excellent design and construction. A very dense hard pile, cut medium to high, though old and antique finely woven pieces tend to be clipped lower. Warp is of cotton or, less frequently, goat's wool. Weft is cotton and both warp and weft yarn are tightly spun. In old and antique pieces, warp and weft are of wool. The majority of BIJAR rugs have Turkish knots. However, Persian knotted pieces are also found and common.BIJAR carpets 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 also common. 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 BIJARs are woven with combinations of light and dark blue.