Area Rugs > Antique Rugs > Tree of Life – The Motif Above All Others

Tree of Life – The Motif Above All Others

It is widely known that antique rugs, besides their aesthetic qualities, are saturated with meaning. 

Every single element of the intricate pattern in a Persian Kerman or a Turkish Oushak, including the color palette, constitutes a letter in the rich and profound “rug alphabet”. These “letters” make up entire stories which skillful weavers wanted to convey by the means of intertwining warp and weft. However, there are some motifs that mean a lot more than others. One of the greatest and most renowned is the magnificent Tree of Life design.

Tree of Life is not a symbol confined solely to carpets, nor should it be associated with one particular nation. It has been applied by many different cultures around the world to decorate various utilitarian and architectural objects, including pottery, furniture, palaces and temples . Scholars trace its origins back to the ancient Mesopotamia as the earliest known example of the Tree of Life representation comes from 2500 BCE and depicts a Sumerian god standing in front of two trees. Thus, this intriguing motif definitely predates Jewish, Christian of Muslim religions which also drew from its deep symbolism. For instance, the Catholic concept of Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was most probably adapted from the Babylonians who believed that the magical tree grew in the center of Paradise.

Although the Tree of Life took on many shapes and meanings throughout the history – including the Georgian symbol of continuity between the past, present and the future, or the Greek oak attributed to Zeus – the most prevailing one is that it’s a giver of life. It is also a wish of abundance and good fortune, especially on antique Oriental rugs.

If you would like to find out more about the Tree of Life or other traditional rug patterns, do not hesitate to contact us by email DD@DorisLeslieBlau.com or call 212-517-9178. You are more than welcome to visit our gallery located on 306 East 61st Street, 7th Floor, New York and if by any chance you are visiting the capital, come to The Washington Design Centre at 1099 14th Street, N.W. Suite 325. We assure that our consultants will be at your disposal, serving with their expertise and kind advice.

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