There are hard to be found in the whole of Persia, three weaves which differ more widely from each other than the three weaves of Persian Kurdistān: the Senneh (Senna) weave, the Bijār (Bidjar) weave, and the weave of the Kurdish tribal rugs. The first is carried on exclusively in the town of Senneh; the second in the town of Bijār.
The 'Juive' wife of a Kurdish chieftain by Antoin Sevruguin (C. 1890-95)
Senneh (Senna) became the capital of Persian Kurdistan sometime 200 years ago. Before that time, it was little more than a village and the seat of government was in a castle situated five miles farther west. The ruins of the fortress can still be seen crowning an eminence that overlooks the village of Hassanabad. The astute Persian monarchs no doubt preferred to have their deputies reside in a locality that was easier to master than a castle planted on the top of a hill. The population of Senneh is estimated at 20,000. Except for the garrison, the government officials, and about a thousand Jews, the inhabitants are Gurāni Kurds. They are kinsmen of the great Gurāni tribe whose territories lie farther south in the direction of Kermanshah.
Senneh carpet differs greatly from that originating in any other part of Kurdistan, and, indeed, even the surrounding villages produce the typical crude Kurdish tribal weaves. The rugs of Senneh have a peculiar fascination. The best examples possess a refinement of texture, originality, and a naïveté in color and design which are delightful and unsurpassed by any other Persian weave. They are also unique in style and unmistakable: none of the rugs of Persia remotely resemble them. The weavers of this remote little Kurdish town are among the few in Persia who have preserved a style and dignity of their own. For 200 years they have continued to weave in their way, undisturbed by the whims and fashions of the West.
Weaving and Production
The carpets of Senneh are among the most finely woven of all Persian rugs, with knot counts running as high as four hundred (which is probably as fine as we will ever find with the Turkish knot) and seldom below one hundred and twenty. The pile is closely clipped. The foundations are wool, The weft crosses only once, in contrast to the usual Kurdish practice. The result is a thin fabric with a characteristic rough feel on the back, which is distinctive enough to allow identification of the rug blindfolded.
Photo: Senna Rug Weaving, 2021 Celikhan