Tradition Woven in Rugs. Orient Philosophy in Carpets – Maple Home

Oriental carpets bring about a plethora of motifs, symbols and designs that in addition to the aesthetics are also repositories of the philosophical and cultural values of traditions. Rugs and carpets have been traditionally used for decor and worship, and the purpose inculcated certain design patterns to accommodate the utility.

Design of the prayer rugs is characteristic of a niche at one end which points toward the mihrabin the mosque when praying, representing the qibla or the direction of Mecca. Regular carpets are typical of asymmetrical center with woven geometrical patterns (geometrical generally) all around or an elaborate motif such as the tree of life

The Islamic view of the world is fatalistic and Moslems believe that Allah drives the destiny of the world and its inhabitants. Only Allah is perfect and only he can materialize perfection. The weaver of the carpet thus assumes that his work would be only as good as it is destined by the will of Allah. Perfection invites 'Evil Eye.' To epitomize this thought, the weaver humbles his work with a disruption in the pattern of the design, whether is a break in the line, tone, shape of alignment.

Birds such as falcon and eagle in the oriental tradition of Persia are the medium between creation/man and God. In the Armenian Christian tradition, birds connote salvation and resurrection. This commonality is probably the result of the occupation of Armenia by Persia in the early AD 253 to AD 645.

The sign of a Holy Cross is also an essential feature of Armenian Christian carpets.The Turkish tradition which is averse to depicting animals and humans. Therefore, Turkish carpets are decorated with flowers, fruits and tree forms, most common being the tree of life, a symbol of immortality and the elite among Turks, Armenian and Persians also use rugs for burial with this tree feature. Flowers in a vase symbolize the transient nature of life.


All art is driven by the context and culture in which it originates. Carpet too are a vivid repository of the exploration of humans of their times, their history and philosophy. So the next time you buy a carpet, feel pleased to be mesmerized by the outer beauty as well as the deeper essence.

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