Antique Bidjar and Senneh rugs take their names from the towns of Bidjar and Senneh (or Sannandaj) in the Kurdish north-west region of Iran bordering with Iraq and Turkey. Weaving is a time-honored tradition among Kurds, although we do not exactly know how far it goes back in history. Kurdish rugs are distinguished by their colors, as is evident in Kurdish Jaff bags, their patterns and, at least in the case of Bidjar and Senneh rugs, their structure. Historically, Senneh rugs precede Bidjar, with some pieces surviving from the late-18th century. Bidjar rugs per se made their first appearance in the late 19th century when trade took off with the West, but they draw on motifs and patterns from much older tradition.
Antique Bidjar rugs come in a variety of sizes, designs and colors, ranging from somewhat severe formal patterns with lozenge medallions to highly stylized allover designs and colorful forms. But what distinguish them, particularly those made at the turn of the 20th century with cotton foundation, is their tightly-pressed structure which results in heavy carpets that are difficult to bend, earning them the moniker of "iron rugs". This structure is the result during weaving of tightly pressing down the weft on the rows of knots causing the pile to stand up in the front. Older Bidjar rugs tend to have wool foundation and are generally more malleable.
Where Bidjar rugs are heavy, thick, and sturdy, Senneh rugs are light, thin, and delicate. This is due to the fact that antique senneh rugs use a single weft with a very tight weave, which gives the back of the rug a granular texture, while the pile in the front is usually cropped very short. Senneh rugs are typically of small area size and are also famous for their fine kilims or flat-weave rugs with mesmerizing designs.
The price of an antique Bidjar rug is mainly determined by the sophistication of the design, color harmony, and condition. At reputable auction houses, these rugs can range from a several hundreds to several thousands at the higher end.
The price of an antique Senneh rug is mainly determined by the quality of drawing and fineness of the weave, and subtlety of colors. At reputable auction houses, these rugs can range from a few thousands to several thousands.
The following is a short guide on Bidjar and Senneh rugs. Please contact us if you wish to sell your rug.
Aside from the patterns, modern day Bidjar and Senneh rugs have almost nothing to do with antique pieces. Modern Bidjar rugs have adopted a more standard weaving structure, losing its thick and heavy characteristics and becoming finer. Modern Senneh rugs did the opposite, becoming coarser and thicker.