Except for some tribal, Caucasian and collectible rugs made outside of Persia (present day Iran), Persian rugs made before 1950 are considered the benchmark by which all other oriental rugs are judged. With a few exceptions, they were well made and do not have any inherent cleaning problems.
As a general rule, rugs with depressed warps and curvilinear designs were usually made in Persian cities. Curvilinear means curved lines. Less densely knotted rugs with curvilinear designs were usually made in Persian villages. Since 1980 many Persian rugs have lost their individual characteristics and are more generic in design and construction.
In the study of oriental rugs, in terms of design and structure, ‘always’ and ‘never’ are not the words that are safe to use. Because of the inherent nature of had made textiles, there are too many exceptions that do not allow the use of ‘always’ and ‘never’. The characteristics of rugs described below are those most commonly found.
Persian Curvilinear Rugs
Ahar is a town located in the Heriz region. An “Ahar” usually refers to a Heriz rug with a circular pattern. Heriz is a town in northwestern Iran about 40 miles west of Tabriz. The design and structure of these rugs varies little. Most are composed of a large central medallion on a brick colored or red field with corners.
Bijar rugs can have both curvilinear and rectangular designs. Bijar is a twon in northwest Iran, about 90 miles northwest of Hamadan. Rugs are woven here and in the surrounding villages.
The design and most commonly associated with Bijar is a central medallion on a Herati filled field. Bijar rugs are known as the “Iron rug of Persia” because of their distinctive structure. Two or there wefts, one very thick and two thin , are inserted between each rows of knots. These wefts are hammered tightly using a special tool that looks like a long nail or spike. The wefts are very depressed and this dense structure gives Bijar its stiff and distinctive handle. “Old” Bijar is one of the few hand-knotted rugs that should never be folded and baled as that can crack and break the foundation.
The city of Hamadan is an important rug trading center located in northwest Iran. Though no rugs are actually woven in Hamadan, hundreds of villages in a 50 mile radius surrounding Hamadan product single-wefted, non-depressed, cotton foundation rugs. Distinctive weaving characteristics are associated with many of these villages and these characteristics identify the rug. Some examples of these specific types of Hamadan are: Dergazine, Ejelas, and Mazlaghan.