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After you have finished reading the text below, please select from one of these design groups:
Persian Pattern
Anatolian Pattern
Caucasian Pattern
Chinese Pattern

Some rug designs are clearly rooted in religious and mystical symbolism as expressed for example in geometric designs ( symbol of eternity) and the Tree-of-Life designs (the river of life rising from the throne of God, flowing down the city street, lined either side with the Trees-of-Life which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one for each month, the leaves of which are the cure for non-believers). Others are obviously drawn from a wide range of plant and animal life, developing into floral designs and garden patterns and often depicting hunting scenes.

Architectural forms are also featured, in both a religious (e.g. depicting a Mosque) and a historical context. As an illustration, a medallion as used so frequently in carpet design, features even more largely in architecture as a circular or oval decorative device, usually bearing a relief or sculpture.

It is interesting to note that over the ages and in various different cultures many architects and designers of classical buildings have drawn their inspiration in part or in whole from traditional decorative art and design in the rug making industry.

To summarise: The creative artistry, sheer beauty, quality and diversity of rug designs, whether they be simple or intricate are without any doubt at all absolutely unique in origin by virtue of their being the product of ancient cultures having evolved and developed slowly during the centuries. The diverse influences of mythology, folklore, history and the flowering of a wide spectrum of decorative arts have all left their indelible mark in carpet design to be universally respected and admired until the end of time.

A border consists normally of a series of strips of pattern running around the outside edge of the rug. The Centre strip is usually much wider than the others, the latter being called “guards” and the former the main border. In view of the amazing variety of designs found in the backgrounds of oriental rugs, it is surprising that the number of distinct border types employed is very small indeed. In fact the vast majority of all oriental rugs include some form or other of one single design, this consists of repeated flower motifs facing alternately inward and outward, and joined by diagonal lines, also alternating. The colouring of the main motifs usually alternates too.

The specific border pattern was used in the classical decorative ideas employed in the Islamic world in the fifteenth century. The above mentioned first basic border pattern employed is much older (the pattern was used as the decorative border in illuminated manuscripts of the Koran, made by Persians, as early as the thirteenth century). The ancient motif constitutes a fascinating example of how one basic idea can be interpreted in an amazing variety of ways by different weavers.

What the motif represents is one of the great mysteries of the oriental carpets. It is known always by its Persian name “boteh” which means a cluster of leaves, or a shrub. Often this is extended to mir-i-boteh, which would mean “princely plant” (note that the word mir in this context is not derived from the Mir Serabend, it is by chance that the latter is one of the most commonly found rugs using the boteh designs. In the English speaking world the boteh is usually called a pine cone. In the German language the “boteh” is translated to mean “palm crown.”

Attention is drawn to the immense importance of the palm tree in western and central Asia (Wood, oil and dates are only three amongst countless other products derived from palms) and to its significance in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions. However, no explanation is offered for the fact that no palm tree has a top anything like the shape of the boteh as it appears in Persian rugs. Even those types of palm which have a swollen bulbous base to their trunks still have a spreading and symmetrical tuft of etrical tuft of fronds at the crown. Thus from the point of view of carpet design the “palm-Crown” theory is of small interest.
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