The Visual Language of Turkish Kilims.

Most Turkish kilim designs have their roots in the conservative, indigenous, pre-Christian and pre-Islamic backgrounds of the rural population and are related to the basic themes of life: birth, marriage, fertility; spiritual life and happiness; love and unison; and death. They reflect the ancient cults and practices of their ancestors around these events. There are many symbols in the vocabulary of the weaver and many stylizations of each symbol. Unlocking the keys to these symbols reveals a deeper insight into the values, dreams and culture of the Anatolian people and expresses layer upon layer of history and influence in the region.

Nazarlik: an amulet to protect against the evil eye,.

Elebelinde: symbol of motherhood and fertility, originating in the Neolithic  cult of the Mother Goddess.

Ram's Horn: male fertility, heroism, power and masculinity.

Hands, Fingers and Combs: the hand motif protects against spells and the evil eye, the comb protects birth and marriage.

Tree of Life: symbol of life and paradise;

Niche: place of honor, or a doorway into paradise.


More On Symbols:


Goose: sacred aminal in the epic of Mount Goose Goose Foot: brings luck; the divine trio (holiness, productivity, fertility) is represented in each toe in the foot
Camel: the blessing of an obedient animal; a means of transport (and thus importance) for nomads
protection, 'pride and liberty'
beauty and elegance
Phoenix: immortality and rebirth; a symbol of Islamic mysticism, which liberates the soul from the body and the material weight of the world
Dragon: power, force, and might
Eagle: symbolizes sky and a healthy life; image of power and height.
Wolf's Mouth: protection against wild animals that nomads had encountered.
Snake: rebirth, immortality, and infinity; a guard of the Tree of Life
Animal Hide: power, force, and might.
Ram's Horn: power, force, health, and happiness; represents a man's fertility and a man's world
Yellow: abundant and wealthy life
Blue: unattainable depth and mythical infinity of sky and sea
Light Blue-Turquoise: the color known to avert the evil eye
Green: represents Spring and paradise


Almond: duality of love and passion, night and day, male and female.
Pomegranate: fruit of paradise, abundance and fertility

Human Qualities

Human: expectation of child.
Fertility Motif: fertility and abundance.
Hands on Waist: symbolizes the carpet weaver woman.

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