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What is Your Oriental Rug Really Saying?

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What is Your Oriental Rug Really Saying?

Oriental Rugs and the Stories They Tell

History of Oriental rugs 

What is your Oriental Rug really saying? They speak to us in many ways. Through ancient symbols and designs, from the weavers hands, into our homes. The weavers are sharing stories, giving us  a glimpse into their lives, their hopes, their beliefs.
Identifying oriental rug patterns
History of Oriental rugs
Part of the charm of Oriental & Persian Rugs, is their mystique, the fables and tales that so many of them are based on. This is how they become so beautiful, romantic and charming.
History of Oriental rugs
Learning the meaning of some of the symbols and designs let us better understand what the weaver is trying to tell us. The names of certain patterns or designs come from the city, village or tribe of a weaver where a pattern was first woven or traded.
History of Oriental rugs
One of the most common motif on an Oriental Rug, is a central medallion. Some people believe that this design is inspired from the weavers religious nature, and is meant to represent the artwork and pattern from the dome of a mosque. A medallion in a Persian or Oriental Rug is also believed to represent the "all seeing eye", a protection of sorts that hinder or defeats "the evil eye".
History of Oriental rugs
Other common designs are fauna and floral. Flower designs are representative of Paradise. They are a sign of rebirth and fertility, but each flower has their own meaning.
For example:
Lily- purity
Lotus- rebirth
Peony- power
Hyacinth-regeneration
Pomegranate- fertility
Rose, white- innocence
Rose, red- passion and mystery
Cypress tree- life after death
The Tree of Life- wishing you a direct path
from earth to paradise, also truth
wisdom and understanding,
Another design found often in rugs, are animals. Animals on rugs are sometimes called "hunting rugs". These are powerful symbols, often meant to offer strength.
History of Oriental rugs
The elephant footprint is a very popular symbol, usually used  exclusively by the "Turkeman" tribe, although it can be found in some Balouchi Rugs.
History of Oriental rugs
It is said the elephant footprint is a wish of strength, and was often weaved by the wives whose husbands were away on long trade journey's. This was a message of hope that their husbands footsteps would be as strong and powerful as an elephants.
History of Oriental rugs
Here are some other animal meanings:
Ram head- virility and protection
Camel- happiness, wealth
Eagle- good fortune
Peacock- beauty, pride
Roosters- courage
Lion- victory
Deer- well being
Dragon- emperor
Phoenix- empress
Dog- protector
Horse- speed
Stag- long life
Snake- keeper of wisdom
Duck- faithful marriage
History of Oriental rugs
In the Persian culture, fish are said to have important meaning. They are a Persian rug symbols of prosperity and are often times given as a new years gift to offer you hope for a prosperous year. The fish design is also thought to represent infinity, this is meant if there are a group of fish, rendering in four directions. Ultimately if you are given a fish, someone is wishing for you infinite prosperity.
Patterns and symbols in history of Oriental Rugs were often chosen for a belief, and to hope for you, life enhancing attributes.
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Even the colours in rugs have meaning, in the ancient Orient certain colours were chosen in order to activate a particular spiritual feeling, or to alleviate and help the symptoms of sickness and disease.
Here are some colours and what they represent:
Brown- fertility
Gold- power, wealth
Black- mourning (usually only used as outline)
White- purity, cleanliness
Yellow- the sun, joy of life
Orange- humility and piety
Blue- power of force, solitude, peace in the after life
Red- beauty, wealth, courage, luck, joy
GREEN - a very special colour, considered the prophets colour , only used sparingly,
green represents, hope, spring, life, renewal
History of Oriental rugs
Other symbols commonly found:
Amulet- thwarts the evil eye
Boteh-flame, universe
Jug- purification
Comb- cleanliness
Cross- faith
One diamond- A woman
Two diamonds- a man and a woman
Hand- prayer
Star- spirituality, good luck
mihrab- gateway to paradise
History of Oriental rugs
Many of these designs and motifs  and symbols come from ancient times. They have articulated to us some profound beliefs or hopes of a tribal weaver. Many remain today, and are time honoured traditions, passed from one weaving generation to the next.
History of Oriental rugs
Whatever the design of a rug, it always speaks to us "beauty".

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  • Tanya Shea