Kilim Rug Motifs and Meanings

Kilim is one of the the most interesting handmade garment that has its own story. Most of the kilims have their own different motifs with different meanings that leads to stories.  Sometimes you can easily understand the motifs, but mostly they have their own stylish unique design. They all have a different story, that’s what makes them meaningful and unique. The kilim rug motifs make the story of a lilim, and that story is designed by the women weaving it.  The person who weaves the kilim, places the knots, has a story and she passes that onto kilim with these different motifs in her own dreams. So that is interesting also.

Here are some characteristic kilim rug motifs with their own meanings. Geography and ethnography makes the difference.

Variations of the characteristics of motifs is  widely spread around with the garment itself; different areas and the different times result in diffferent designation  being used throughout Anatolia.

Kilim’s Rug Motifs 

Kilim rug motif - Fetter



Fetter: You can see a horse or a camel. When woven, it symbolise family unity and staying together.

Kilim rug motif -wolf mouth

Wolf mouth: This motif represents protection from wolves, in general meaning wild animals. The damage that a wolf could do to the nomadic tribes affected the lives in a hard way throughout history.

kilim rug motif - earring

Earring: That motif symbolizes the desire to get married.  Earrings and other gold motif items were and still are a common and wishful wedding gift.

kilim rug motif -hairband

Hair band: That is also a desire to get married. Hair bands is an important ornamental decoration during the wedding ceremonies also.

kilim rug motif - chest

Chests: This symbol symbolizes the desire to get married.  A young brides belongings and things she had made so far, often get packed into a chest and before the marriage cerenomy it is carried in a ritual way to the house that she will live from now on.

kilim rugs world - rams horn

Ram’s horns: Fertility, heroism, power and masculinity is the main meaning of that motif symbol.

kilim rug motif - scorpion

Scorpion: Scorpion motif means true protection. It is not unique to Anatolian tribes to use an object’s image for  protection.

S motif:  This motif is said to act as protection also.  This is very common in Anatolian kilims, sometimes described as a ‘hook’ motif or ‘s’ motif.

kilim rug motif - nazar

Nazar (evil eye): That is a guard for protection. It is said to provide protection against people’s evil eyes and ill wishes.

kilim rug motif -burrdock

Burdock (thorn):  This motif is said to provide protection and also used for ‘abundance’.

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