Language of Motifs on Kilim Rugs and Carpets

dragon eye hands on hips motifs rams horn signs tamga

In this post i will introduce you the symbolic language of motifs on Turkish kilim rugs and carpets. 

Kilim Rugs Rams Horn Motif

RAM'S HORN: The ram's horn denotes fertility, heroism and power, it may also represent the husband or lover of the rug weaver lady. It represents the man.


Kilim Rug Eye Motif

EYE: The most effective precaution against the "eye" which is regarded to be guilty of harmful, fatal looks so called "evil eye" is nothing but the "eye" itself. Mostly the center of the eye motifs are woven with blue colour. It is usually woven in geometric shapes on Turkish rugs which vary from one district to another. The eye is indicated with a spot woven inside a triangle, square or quadrangle

DRAGON: Believed to live in every place, every climate and region, the sacred imaginary animal of the sea, sky, mountains and forests, the dragon is a symbol of power, force and might for its ability to produce flames from its mouth and its supernatural appearance.

Kilim rug scorpion motif

SCORPION: From the earliest times people have believed that by imitating or weaving part of a dangerous animal, they will have power over it and protection from it. Weaving a wolf's paw, a snake or a scorpion on a kilim rug or carpet is a remnant of the ancient beilef.


Star motif on kilim rugs

STAR: A hexagonal star denotes universe as well as human mysteries. A pentagonal star is the symbol of genius. A dodecagonal star, due to its holiness has often represents The Venus, Venus is a symbol of goodness and renewed life while an octagonal star denotes the line of life from birth to death.


Hands on hips Turkish kilim motif

HANDS ON HIPS: Motherhood usually denoted with a hands on hips motif on Turkish kilims and carpets. It does not only symbolizes the motherhood but also fertility. The weaver women weave this hands on hips motifs on the rugs for the hope of giving birth to healthy children, productivity of  animals, plants and abundance at home.

Kilims ying yang motifs

YING YANG: This motif signifies that the weaver is married as well as in love and unity. Inherited from Far East, this symbol denotes love and unity between a man and woman.


Swan motif on kilim rugs

SWAN: Swan is symbol of beauty elegance and purity


SWASTIKA: Swastika also known as whell of fortune is one of the oldest motifs have been attributed different meanings at different times. The origin of the swastika motif goes as farback as 5.000 BC and it is used almost in every corner of the world by many diffirent civilizations. It has different meanings in almost every culture but mainly believed meanings are fortune, circle of life, superior human being (spiritually) Swastika is not only found on Turkish rugs but also on Persian rugs, Indian rugs and Chinese rugs.

PHOENIX: Legendary bird Phoenix. It is believed that at the end of its life, it burns itself by setting fire to its nest built on the branches of spring trees. Thus a new Phoenix comes to life. It is therefore a symbol of immortality and rebirth. In Islamic mysticism, being invisible, it symbolises the soul as liberated from the body and the material weight of the world. It is very common to see Phoenix motif on Anatolian kilim rugs but specially Balkan kilims

WATER OF LIFE: In Anatolian and Central Asian tales, drinking this water makes people immortal, strenghtens the old and weak, transforms the ugliest into most beautiful. This magic is represented mainly on the borders of Turkish kilim rugs and carpets

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  • Connor on

    Thanks for sharing! I’m browsing for a new rug. This was really helpful :)

  • Aren on

    Thanks for the great information, this is the information i was looking for my research :)

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