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Symbols and Colors in Hand-Knotted Oriental Rugs


hand-knotted persian rug Symbols and Colors in Hand-Knotted Oriental Rugs  

Handmade Oriental area rugs feature various symbols, patterns, and colors which make them endearing works of art . Looking at the exquisite oriental rugs makes you feel delighted. But what you may not know is that these symbols, patterns, and colors on the rugs have got some specific meaning. Understanding their meaning will help you unravel the story of the weaver who created this breathtaking piece of art.

Orient word refers to the countries of Asia, especially the countries of Eastern Asia. Similarly, oriental rugs refer to the rugs produced in various countries of Asia. The Oriental rugs primarily include the Persian rugs which are created by the nomadic and herding peoples living in Persia (modern-day Iran). India , China, Tibet, Nepal, Morocco, and Turkey are the other places in Asia where oriental rugs get produced.

Rugs and weaving held an important role in the life of nomadic and herding peoples of ancient Persia. The patterns, symbols, and colors they weaved into their rugs were influenced by their cultural and religious beliefs . They chose particular symbols, patterns, and colors because of their life-protecting and life-enhancing qualities. They deliberately chose some colors on their rugs for the sake of activating a particular spiritual sensation in their life to diminish the symptoms of a disease or assist their living in harmony with nature.       

hand-knotted persian rugPersian rugs have been created from the time dating back to the ages BC and this tradition of weaving rugs is continuing right up to this day due to the rug design techniques getting passed from generation to generation. The names of Persian rug patterns were derived from the village, city, or tribe where specific patterns were first woven or traded.     

Handmade Persian area rugs have been the finest in the world due to certain reasons. They are produced by nomads and shepherds from the Qashqai and Bakhtiari tribes. Their sheep graze on the green slopes of Iran’s Fars Province, which is regarded as the homeland of Persia. The wool produced by their sheep has long and tough fibers. It is shown only once a year. This makes this wool perfect for carpet creation. Also, it is quite durable and long-lasting. Tribal women twist the fibers into threads with their hands. Then there are colored with dyes made from various natural ingredients like turmeric, pomegranate, acorn shells, or green leaves which are boiled in huge pots with the threads. After drying the threads, they are woven into looms by using a single looping knot .

Here are some of the symbols that are used in Persian Rugs along with their meaning:   

  • The resting eagle represents the high-mindedness of the spirit.
  • Leopard signifies bravery.
  • The cypress tree depicts life after death.
  • Parrot means escaping from danger and protection.
  • Peacock signifies immortality or divine protection.
  • The tree of life represents truth or understanding and a direct path from Earth to Heaven.
  • Lily represents spirituality and purity.
  • A paradise bird signifies paradise or heaven.
  • Lotus depicts immortality and rebirth.
  • The Lion represents power.
  • Iris signifies religious freedom.
  • Blossom represents spring, newlyweds, and youth.
  • The tulip symbolizes prosperity. tree of life hand-knotted persian rug
  • Pomegranate signifies fertility.
  • An Amulet is a triangular shape that wards off evil eyes.
  • Ewer or jug represents purification.
  • Comb signifies cleanliness.
  • A diamond represents women and two diamonds depict a man and woman together.
  • The Cross symbolizes faith.
  • The hand depicts a prayer rug.
  • Mihrab signifies the gateway to Paradise.
  • Sun represents lucidity and radiant light.
  • Star signifies good luck and spirituality.
  • Numbers are used to representing dates and times.

Certain colors are also used in Persian rugs which have different meanings:   


  • Green color represents the holy color of the Prophet Muhammad.  It is sparingly used in those portions of a handmade Persian rug that are least likely to be walked on. It depicts renewal, life, hope, and spring.
  • Red color signifies wealth, beauty, luck, courage, faith, and joy.
  • Blue color represents force or power and solitude which indirectly refers to the afterlife.
  • The orange color in a hand-knotted Persian rug signifies piety and humility.
  • Yellow color represents the joy of life and the sun.
  • White color depicts purity and cleanliness.
  • Black color is generally found on the outlines. It represents destruction and mourning.
  • The golden color signifies wealth and power.
  • Brown color represents fertility.

These are some of the symbols that are used in Turkish Rugs:

    • Elibelinde or hands on hips represents motherhood and fertility.
    • An Eye is a symbol used for warding off evil.
    • The scorpion signifies pride and independence and offers protection from evil.
    • Ying Yang represents balance, harmony, and love between men and women.
    • Phoenix signifies happiness, good luck, destruction, and re-creation and reincarnation.
    • Camel tells about the importance of camels for the tribal people who craft rugs.


hand-knotted persian rug


Here are some symbols used in the Moroccan Rugs:  

  • Cheeseboard represents dizzy spells and celestial experiences.
  • The crab is a symbol used for warding off evil. It’s also represented as sun rays spreading around the earth.
  • Dragons represent goodness and wisdom.
  • Lion’s Paw symbolizes strength and the claws of the finger provide protection.


These symbols and their meaning will help you unlock the weaver’s story, understand his life better, and know more about his community and society when you get the opportunity to look at the hand-knotted Oriental rug laid at your home or any other place you are visiting. This will eventually enable you to relish the rugs’ creativity even more.   Magic Rugs offers outstanding quality and authentic Oriental handmade rugs which help to enhance the aesthetic appeal of homes , offices, and other places and bring delight to visitors and guests.