TURKISH RUG MOTIFS
rug motifs and the way they are arranged in patterns are the keys to
discovering each weaver's story. This is true of pile rugs as well as
flat woven kilims from Turkey.
If the weaver is single, she may express this by the motif of a hair band announcing she is ready for marriage. If she is married, she will often use the yin-yang motif, expressing love and unity between a man and a woman. If she wishes to have a child, she may include the tulip motif. If she wishes protection for her flock from wolves, she can use the wolf's foot motif.
rug motifs can vary in shapes and sizes, as well as colors, all chosen
according to the taste and the tradition of a given village or tribe.
motifs, such as the dragon and the scorpion both share the same basic
diamond shape with a hooked or stepped boundary and it can be difficult
to distinguish between them.
There are certain motifs found only in Anatolia (Turkey). Others can also be found in Persia (Iran) and the Caucasus region. Rug
weaving appeared very early in all regions inhabited by nomadic Turkish
groups. Turkish rug designs appeared prominently in many early European
artists' paintings in the 14th to the 16th centuries, such as Holbein, Memling, and VanEyck, etc.
TURKISH RUG MOTIFS SYMBOLIZING PROTECTION
large number of Turkish rug motifs symbolize protection against wild
animals and any kind of evil or malice a weaver may feel threatens her
or her family.
have believed from earliest times imitating or weaving part of a
dangerous animal will give them power over it and protection from it.
Examples of these are the scorpion, the snake, and the wolf's foot or wolf's mouth.
large number of Turkish rug motifs contain motifs woven as protection
against the evil eye and the harm it can do to the weaver, her family,
and her tribe. These motifs include the human eye, the cross, hook, scorpion, and burdock, etc.
The most common Turkish rug motifs symbolizing protection are noted below:
THE ARROW MOTIF (Ok)
The arrow motif is a general protective symbol usually used in borders.
THE DRAGON MOTIF (Ejder)
The dragon is
a mythological creature whose feet are like the lion's, whose tail is
like a snake and who has wings. The Turks of Central Asia stylized the
dragon with a beak, wings, and a lion's feet.
Believed to be a great serpent, the dragon is the guardian and protector of treasures and secret objects as well as the tree of life. The dragon is the sacred imaginary animal of the sea, sky, mountains, and forests.
It is a symbol of power, force, and might because of its ability
to produce flames from its mouth as well as by its supernatural
appearance. The dragon also offers specific protection from the sting of
the scorpion.THE EVIL EYE MOTIF (Nazarlik)
weavers have always believed some people possess a power in their
glance which can cause harm, injury, misfortune, and even death. At
immediate risk are babies, pets, important objects in the home, and
The evil eye motif itself is used in the same way an animal is depicted on a rug in order to control it or to reduce its effect.
is a triangular package containing a sacred verse carried by the tribal
people for protection. When woven into a rug, it serves as an amulet, conferring protection by its presence.
THE BURDOCK MOTIF (Pitrak, Dulavratotu)
a plant with burrs that stick to clothing and animal hair, is believed
to avert the evil eye. It is also a symbol of abundance.
THE CROSS MOTIF (HAC)
motif can divide the evil eye into four pieces, thus reducing its
power. The cross motif was used well before Christianity and does not
represent religious meanings.
The swastika is a variation of the cross motif and has been used for centuries as a motif in rugs.
THE EYE MOTIF(Goz)
The belief is the human eye
is the most effective precaution against the evil eye. Very often it is
depicted as a spot (usually of blue color) inside a triangle, square
common form of the human eye is a diamond divided into four parts. The
particular eye motif used on rugs can vary from one region to another.
THE HAND (El), FINGER (Parmak), and COMB (Tarak) MOTIFS
The hand, finger, and comb motifs
are very similar. All are used against spells and the evil eye. The use
of this theme dates back to very early times. The fingers on the hand
number five, which is considered a lucky number.
motif is largely related to marriage and birth. When used against the
evil eye, it expresses the desire to protect birth and marriage against
the evil eye.
To continue reading about the protective motifs and learn about those symbolizing love and marriage, the desire for fertility and pregnancy, the desire for immortality, the desire for good luck and happiness, the fate and the heavens, those symbolizing religion, family signs, and more, complete with photos, please continue reading here.