5 x 7 Antique Bidjar Sampler, Northwest Persia, Circa 1900

Woven in the Bidjar area in northwest Persia’s Kurdistan province, this rug appears to have been woven as a “sampler” or “wagireh”, a rug with which a salesman could show prospective buyers a range of design elements and colors. The lower section of the rug features a field design of polychromatic diagonal stripes framed by ivory guard borders. Further up the rug, the field format switches to two different designs: the first being large Quatrefoil elements and, in between those, the second being stylized yellow and green flowers with light blue and terra cotta leaves. Both the Quatrefoil design and this second design could be done independent of one another; though, in this case, it appears they could be combined as well.

The major border design, with large flowers and leaves on a diagonal, is of an early style.

The presence of a synthetic red in some of the highlights prompts me to date this rug fairly conservatively, given that the archaic articulation of the motifs and the border style suggest it could have been woven a decade or so earlier. Synthetic dyes began to be used in Persian rugs in the 1870s, so it is possible this rug is somewhat older than we have dated it.

The yellow and green highlights are a nice feature; and ivory field Bidjar rugs are relatively uncommon.

This rug is both collectable and decorative, given its unusual format.

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