The province of Zanjan has been the home of different tribes for a long time. Each tribe has its own traditions and customs which have been reflected in their handicrafts. Since these works of art were inspired by the creative minds of their makers, they served their beliefs during this work. In other words, the creators try to represent and convey part of their world-view and natural surrounding through their creations.
One of these creations is carpets. In comparison with other carpets, Zanjan products have failed to attract the attention of researchers and tradesmen due to their low quality of color and wool and also their thickness. These carpets have not been affected by the trends and revolutions of this craft. Therefore, the motifs and patterns of Zanjan carpets, which are mostly abstract, imaginative and inspired by the traditions, rituals and natural habitats of their weavers and have roots in years before Islamic era, have successfully continued to exist until today. They are now known as “Dehjalal”, “Shah Bolaghi”, “Bidgeneh”, “Qoltuq”, “Afshar” and etc. Amongst these patterns there are those which have been mixed with geometric designs, and refer to the rituals from before Islamic era. Because of the cultural changes, they have gradually lost their symbolic value and found new aesthetic aspects.
The most important ritual that has affected the patterns of hand weaves of Zanjan tribes is the religion of Mithraism. Most of the background of Zanjan carpets are lac red. The products of a place called “Bidkaneh” have the highest quality of all. They are weaved very delicately and exactly, and are considered as export goods. They are especially popular in Germany. The wool of this area is generally dyed by the weavers themselves, and its color has notable stability. The craft of carpets is almost specifically practiced by women.
The old patterns of Bidkaneh are “Haj Orangi” and “Chahar Gat” or “Chahar Ghat’e”. The motifs of Zanjan carpets include: 1. regular and geometric. 2. symmetrical 3. combined, that are inspired by other motifs independent of Zanjan carpets. 4. marginal, they are both filled and hollow covering all over the carpet, such as “Gol e Ghatari”. 5. figurative (animals or figures) 6. Floral 7. “Gushvarehe” or paisley. The weaving methods of Zanjan carpets have many undeniable similarities with Azerbaijan weaves which are natural considering their common dialect, culture and tribal roots.