Bidjar Ornak (Sampler)

Bidjar Ornak (Sampler)


132 x 96 cm


This Bidjar ornak, or vagireh in Turkish, is a woven sampler.

Traditionally, ornaks were made to either show off the weaving skills of a specific weaver to a prospective customer, or to demonstrate what the different design elements of a carpet would look like, again to a prospective customer who, in this case, might have been pondering a commission piece. They are therefore often very quirky as they incorporate “pieces” of designs which are assembled in a rather random way.

The ornak in hand illustrates this: the spandrels, or corners, on a yellow ground and a main border on yellow, including a gul farang (meaning foreign flower) motif; then less than half a medallion on a red ground, which is truncated on the left and displays one “anchor” in green, elements of field decorations on the dark blue ground, notably people and animals, and furthermore two designs of main borders, one on blue at the top end and one on a red ground at the bottom end, and suggestions for two minor borders, one on a white and one on a light blue ground.

This ornak is clearly modelled on a 19th-century piece, published by Eberhart Herrmann in Seltene Orientteppiche IX. München 1987, catalogue no. 55, p. 127.

The fact that the weaver included so many different options and elaborated on a multitude of field designs (people in different combinations and situations) is, however, an indication that the original purpose of an ornak as a targeted sampler has been dropped, and the ornak has taken on a life of its own as an art form in its own right.

This is an interesting development in contemporary carpet weaving within a traditional context.

Technically, the ornak is made like all excellent Bidjar weavings: naturally dyed wool of the highest quality, a very skilled and dense weave and a heavy, almost stiff handle.

This is a wonderfully charming example of the best Persian village weaving in our day.