decorative rug
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Parts of a Rug Design

The field is the background color of the rug inside of the borders. Often, but not always, there is a medallion (a round, polygonal or oval motif) that sits directly in the middle of the rug. There are usually two borders on a rug: the main border and the guard border. The main border is the widest design around the outside of the rug. Guard borders are usually narrow and lay inside of the main border. Corner brackets, or spandrels, are designs that sometimes fill in the corners of the field.

parts of a rug design

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Rug Motifs and Color Meaning



There are popular motif patterns that are used in many different types of rug designs throughout the weaving world. The boteh is a style of weaving that looks much like a European paisley pattern. It is made to represent a pear, a flame or a cone.

rug motif: boteh
An example of the boteh style

 

The herati is a motif that is very curvilinear and is often used in the Victorian decorating style. It originated in Herat, Persia, and features a blossom with four curling leaves.

The gul motif is a squatty polygon design, which is usually arranged into rows in the field. A gul is used to represent an elephant foot.

 

rug motif: gul
An example of a gul motif

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Creatures
ram Ram Horns
(male fertility)
 
lion Lion
(victory)
deer Deer
(well being)
 
crane Crane
(longevity)
bat Bats
(happiness)
 
fish Fish
(abundance &
prosperity)
dog Dogs
(protector of
noble places)
 
phoenix Phoenix
(Empress)
stag Stag
(long life)
 
dragon Dragon
(Emporer)
duck Duck
(faithful marriage)
 
dove Dove
(peace)
camel Camel
(wealth)
 
tarantula Tarantula
(prevents
bad luck)
crab Crab
(invincible
knowledge)
 
horse Horse
(speed)
elephant Elephant
(power)
 
peacock Peacock
(divine
protection)
butterfly
Butterfly
(happiness)

 

Plants
 
cyprus
Cyprus Tree
(immortality)
bamboo
Bamboo
(wealth & honor)
chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum
(long life)
pomegranate
Pomegranate
(fertility)
 
williow
Weeping Willow
(meditation)
tree of life
Tree of Life
(heaven or eternal paradise)
iris
Iris
(liberty)
lily
Lily
(purity)
 
lotus
Lotus
(purity)
peony
Peony
(rank & wealth)
carnation
Carnation
(wisdom)
carnation
Rose
(emotion)

 

Other Symbols
star
Star
(happiness)
amulet
Amulets
(rids evil spirits)
yin yang
Yin and Yang
(balance)
lamp
Lamp
(faith)
clouds
Cloud
(immortality)
comb
Comb
(cleanliness)
Colors
red
Red
(happiness, joy
)
orange
Orange
(devotion, piety)
yellow
Yellow
(power, glory)
green

Green
(paradise, sacred,
“Prophet’s color”)

blue
Blue
(solitude, truth)
black
Black
(destruction
)
brown
Brown
(fertility
)
white
White
(purity, peace, grief)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


ferity


Hands on Hips: Based on the Mother Goddess. This motif is usually used only when the weaver has given birth to a boy to express the pride of the mother.

Ram's Horn : Expresses fertiliy, heroism and power.

Fertility : These are often stylized versions of wheat and pomegranate, which symbolizes fertility.

Hair Band : Expresses the yearning of a young woman to get married. Young village girls typically keep their hair long until marriage.

Earrings: Because it is a traditional marriage present, this motif represents a girl's desire to get married.

Chest : Representing the dowry chest, this motif expresses a girl's yearning to get married.

Ying&Yang : Expresses love and unity.

Star : Represents happiness.

essential

Running Water : Also expresses the wish for life to continue smoothly, like the running water.

weaver

Burdock : This motif is based on a plant with burrs, which is believed to ward away evil. At our wedding, my mother and aunts kept this plant burning throughout the ceremony.

Comb : Represents the weaver's desire to get married, as well as the wish to keep evil away from marriage and birth.

Amulet : Many people wear amulets with small scrolls of paper inside them to ward away evil.

Eye/Evil Eye : This motif is believed to keep away the Evil Eye.

Cross : The cross is believed to keep away evil by splitting it into four and reduce its power.

 

eye


Dragon : Dragons are mythical creatures with beaks, wings, and lion's feet. They are believed to be the ruler of the sky. They are also the protector of treasures and sacred objects, such as the Tree of Life.


Scorpion : In a similar way to the Evil Eye motif, weaving a scorpion into a carpet is believed to keep real scorpions away.


Wolf Mouth : Many people who make carpets, make their livelihood by herding sheep and goats. Wolves are dreaded animals, which can wipe out entire herds in mintues. Therefore, by weaving wolf motifs into the carepts, people try to keep wolves away.

 

 

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