In older times in the city of Laodicea (one of the seven cities of the seven churches of Asia) beautiful rugs were made. Rugs are made there today, but of inferior quality and design, bearing no resemblance to the artistic weavings of the past. Good specimens of the old rugs are still obtainable, but every year they command a higher price and one must search longer for them. The colouring is one of the chief charms of these rugs. They remind one of a walk in the autumn woods; soft reds, yellows, and browns are the prevailing tones, and when blue is employed it is the blue of an autumn sky at sunset with a suggestion of green in it.
The pattern is so characteristic of these rugs as to be unmistakable, a plain centre upon which is usually a mosque lantern, or groups of two triangles filled with smaller ones, and outlined by the latch hook. A pointed prayer niche generally outlined in yellow, the lower part of the rug balancing the prayer niche, always containig five tree-like branches alternately capped with a floral and a geometrical design. The border consist of a main border stripe with two or three narrow stripes repeated on each side. The edge is worked over with the kilim stitch, making a very stout selvedge. The narrow borders are usually alternating bands of black and white (the so called Kulah border), each narrow band containing a succession of unconnected, separate small designs. There is frequently a narrow stripe of white next to the centre carrying the undulating or meander pattern. The main border stripe in many of the oldest specimens has the Rhodian lily design alternating with the rosette. The use of this old Rhodian pattern is very interesting, showing the migration of ideas. The Rhodian lily is not, as some writers would have us believe, of obscure origin. During a visit to Rhodes a few years ago I had the privilege of meeting and becoming acquainted with Mr. Billioti, who, with his brother Sir Alfred, made the excavations for the British Museum of the old tombs and cities on the Island. They are authority upon all things Rhodian, and they told me that te origin of the lily design goes back to the earliest tradition of the Island. “When Apollo was away on his charitable mission of driving the Sun Chariot and bringing light to the earth, the world was partitioned out among the Gods, and Apollo, not being present, was quite forgetten in the distribution. Upon his return he made complaint to Jove who, in order to make due reparation, caused the Island of Rhodes tor ise up out of the sea covered with beautiful lilies.”