The Language Of Motifs In Vintage Kilims And Rugs

Rugs and kilims were not created just for meeting man’s physical needs but also his psychological wishes. Ritual life enrich , religious beliefs, the soul of man and develop philosophical thoughts influences both the artist and his work in various ways . This can be understood just by looking at the motifs and compositions in the rugs and kilims make this evident.

The meanings of the motives in Turkish rugs are different depending on the region , However, generally the motives symbolize religious beliefs, nobility, power and the other themes described below briefly. The language of handmade rugs and kilims not only indicates the skill of the weaver but also transmits their messages.


Evil Eye

It is believed that some people possess a power in their glance which causes harm, injury, misfortune and even death. Evil eyes are various objects that reduce the effect of the evil glance, thus protecting the ones who carry them. “Muska” is a written charm which is believed to have magical and religious power to protect the possessor from dangerous external factors.


The bird motifs seen in Turkish carpets have various meanings. While birds live owls and ravens imply bad luck, doves, pigeons and nightingales are used to symbolize good luck. The bird is the symbol of happiness, joy and love. It stands for power and strength. It is the imperial symbol of various states founded in Anatolia. The birds also refers to divine messengers and long life.

Cross and Hook

In Turkish carpets hooks and various cross types are used frequently to protect from danger.


The Dragon is a mythological creature whose feet are like the lion’s, whose tail is like a snake and who has wings. The dragon is the master of the air and water. The flight of the dragon and the Phoenix is believed to bring fertile rains of spring. The Dragon, believed to be a great serpent, is the guardian of treasures and secret objects as well as the tree of life.


Eagle figures symbolizing such elements as power, might, amulets, government heraldry and charm originating from old religious traditions can be observed as totems in carpet-weaving.


Earrings are indispensable as a wedding present in Anatolia. A girl using this motif is trying to inform her family that she wants to get married.


It is believed that some people possess a power in their glance which causes harm, injury, misfortune and even death. The eye motifs were produced because of the belief that the human eye is the best protection against evil gazes.


Hands on hips and ram’s horn motifs used together denote a man and a woman. The fertility pattern is composed of two ‘elibelinde’ motifs indicating the female and two ‘koçboynuzu’ motifs indicating the male. The eye motif in the middle of composition is used to protect the family against the evil eye.

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