By: David Neishabori
In traditional rug weaving, the weaver tells a story by the symbols and patterns he uses. In Persian rug design, the patterns are taken from the village or tribe where those particular patterns were first woven.
Nomadic tribes are known for weaving geometrically patterned rugs. The design elements are comprised of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines that usually repeat throughout the piece. The motif is used to determine the place of origin or tribe that wove the rug.
Some of the commonly used symbols found in rugs and their meanings are: ram horns (male fertility), deer (well- being), camel (wealth), horse (speed), fish (abundance & prosperity), and dove (peace). The Tree of Life symbol, very popular in Persian rug design, represents the direct path from earth to heaven.
A center medallion is the most common motif for Persian rugs. It is believed that no two central medallions are ever the same and that the weavers draw their inspirations for the designs from the domes of mosques.
Color also has meaning in Persian rug weaving. Red symbolizes happiness and joy while orange represents devotion. Blue stands for solitude and truth and is thought to be calming.
Once you are familiar with the meanings of these patterns, you will begin understand the story the weaver tells us.
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