The Big Deal About Birjand Rugs

Birjand rugs are made in the Province of Khorasan, Iran. This area produces medium grade rugs made of wool pile with silk highlights and a cotton foundation in colors of navy, rust, tan, camel and cream. These carpets come in different sizes, but the US market favors larger ones.

Birjand rugs usually have a Herati design, or a beautiful circular medallion surrounded by a repeated pattern.

Left: Birjand rugs usually have a Herati design, or a beautiful circular medallion surrounded by a repeated pattern.

When it comes to detail, Birjand borders are plentiful – and for good reason. According to weavers in the region, just as a painting’s decorative frame adds value to the picture, a rug’s border adds value to the center field. The main pattern of Birjand carpets is mostly Mahi (Herati).

The design can be created with or without the Lachak and Toranj. Rugs with Lachak and Toranj have a big and beautiful circle right in the middle, which resembles a radiant sun. According to some, this came about because long ago the area was referred to as “the land of rising sun.” Some other common patterns are: • Rabbi Saadi (plants and flowers filled with spiral lines called “Eslimi”)

• Kaleh Asbii (horse’s head) • Kheshti (brake-like rectangles placed uniformly)
• Afshan (flowers, leaves, branches, trees, birds, animals and spiral lines spread over the rug)
• Moharramat (a colored fabric with lines)

Birjand rugs are known internationally as “Mood Carpets” because Mood is the name of a region in Birjand where the carpet weaving style, which uses Persian or asymmetrical knots, is unique.

Between the years 1931 and 1941, the carpet industry in Birjand really picked up and gained fame because the rugs were such high quality. Since it has played such an important role in Iran’s carpet industry, almost all the carpet historians and researchers reference it — among them retired British carpet dealer A. Cecil Edwards, who wrote extensively about Birjand in his book “Iran’s Carpet,” a comprehensive guide to the Persian carpet industry of the 1900s.

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