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Interpreting and Understanding Antique Carpet Patterns

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Antique carpets are different than antique rugs in that carpets are usually purchased for the purpose of covering the floor of a room completely or almost completely. Antique rugs are smaller in size, usually less than six feet by nine feet. The design in each of the carpets and rugs is unique to the area and the tribe that they come from. There are some common motifs used in almost all of the Persian rugs that have been made and they all have symbolic meanings.

Interpretation of Symbols

There are possible interpretations of these symbols that are part of the designs of the rugs and carpets, and really depend on the intent of the rug maker for the meaning behind the design. When you see a camel woven into the carpet or rug, it symbolizes wealth because those that owned camels were prosperous and successful. If you see a chicken or a rooster, it can represent the start of new things. A carnation in the design means happiness. Cypress trees are commonly part of the design and signify birth, life, and immortality. Some consider the cypress tree to be the tree of life. It can also represent integrity and truth as well. When you see a bird in the design, it symbolizes faith and a place to experience pleasure and beauty. A pomegranate in the design symbolizes fertility and having everything you need. Newlyweds are traditionally given a rug or carpet with a pomegranate in the design. A star can represent fortune and spiritual things. Paisley designs can denote either fire or the universe or both. A jug symbolizes purification and a dog can symbolize protection.

Knots and Time

A typical rug or carpet from Persia or Iran will have about 400 knots per square inch. Rugs and carpets made with silk can have upwards of 1,000 knots per square inch or more. The time required to make a hand-knotted Persian rug or carpet depends on the size. Typically, a rug maker will take many months to make a small rug and around a year to make a medium-size rug. Because of the amount of knots required to make silk antique carpets and rugs, the time to complete one made of silk may take the rug maker a lifetime.

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About Jammie Morey

Jammie is of Native American descent, she has family from the Ojibway/Chippewa tribe in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. She was born and raised in Michigan, where she later moved to Tennessee with her husband and daughter. Jammie and her husband home school their daughter, and enjoy doing many things together as a family. Some of those activities include geocaching, hiking, fishing, playing games together as a family, and just being silly with their daughter. Jammie is Owner of The Neat Things in Life. For more information visit on Google+.


  1. Antique rugs are awesome! They can accentuate any room beautifully. Thanks for the tips! Great article.


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