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Decorative Rugs From Persia and Their Mysteries: Part 2

Once we’ve learned the general shape of Persian decorative rugs and their geometry, it is time to pass on to their most intriguing and appealing part – the motifs. It would require a book or even a whole anthology to cover the subject thoroughly, yet we’ll at least give you a taste of what lies beneath the mesmerizing designs of Oriental decorative rugs.

Here, we will present the most typical and common Persian motifs and discuss their origin, as well as meaning. Thanks to such knowledge one will be better equipped to face and truly unearth the beauty of Persian rugs and their meticulous patterns.

Oriental Decorative Rugs and Their Patterns: Goz – the Eye that Guards

The first and most commonly applied motif in Oriental rugs is the so-called “Goz”, which means “the eye”. In its most primitive form Goz looks like a simple diamond shape but there are numerous cases of more elaborate executions. It originates from the ancient tribal weaving tradition and folkloristic beliefs of the eastern nations. It is thought that anyone with malicious intentions can give you an “evil look” and therefore curse you with the power of his hatred or jealousy. According to the rule “like cures like”, people came up with the idea of the eye that protects against the harmful spell, and started representing it as a rhombus-shaped motifs in decorative rugs. Persian carpets quite often incorporate Goz , however on the borders rather than the main field. Interestingly enough, a diamond motif may also signify a woman, whereas two diamonds attached together stand for a man and a woman. Oriental decorative rugs are full of feminine motifs as the majority of oriental weavers were women and carpet designs were one of their very few means of expression in the patriarchal society.

antique persian figurative decorative rug

Oriental Decorative Rugs and Their Patterns: The Tree of Life

A tree is an extremely important theme in all cultures, not only eastern ones, especially within those with monotheistic beliefs. The tree of life on Persian decorative rugs stands for immortality or, in other words, a direct path from Earth to Heaven. It is probably the most impressive of all Persian rug motifs as it may occupy the entire main field of the carpet and exhibit unbelievable complexity. The fruits of the tree are believed to grant immortality to anyone who eats them. They may also make you wiser and teach you to differentiate between good and evil, as stated in the Old Testament. Nonetheless, the symbol predates both Jewish and Christian traditions – it most probably originated in Mesopotamia with the rise of the first big civilization. It was adapted by Persian weavers due to its profound and powerful significance. The matters of life and death are, after all, the most crucial and mysterious to all human beings. Different cultures have used different plants such as cypress, date, palm, pomegranate, fig, olive, wine, beech and oak to symbolize the tree of life. Some have even acquired their individual meanings. Decorative rugs with cypresses, for instance, are connected to the theme of burial rituals and symbolize serenity and rebirth.

botanical antique persian decorative rug

Oriental Decorative Rugs and Their Patterns: The Lotus Flower

Next to the before mentioned Goz, flowers are omnipresent on Persian decorative rugs. Each blossom represents different qualities and virtues. Lotus flower, for that instance, stands for rebirth and immortality, just as the tree of life and cypress trees. This intriguing symbolic derivers from the actual nature of lotuses – an individual lotus can live for over a thousand years and has the rare ability to revive into activity after stasis. The flowers emerging from the calm surface of water make impression even today so they definitely must have stunned our ancestors. No wonder these magnificent blossoms found their righteous place of the fields of splendid Persian decorative rugs.

Did you enjoy the article? It is not over yet. Make sure to look into the next part of Persian Decorative Rugs and discover their secrets hidden in the intertwining warp and weft.

botanical antique decorative persian rug