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Symbolism in Antique Rugs

Antique Rug

For those who work with antique rugs, the different patterns are more than just reflective of the designer’s wishes. There are important symbols that have been woven into each rug. From Turkish rugs to Persian rugs, to Moroccan, Oriental, and more, the symbolism that is found in every rug reflects the culture of the people.

A rug expert can tell where the rug was created, sometimes down to the town itself thanks to the symbolism. When you learn how to read the symbolism in antique rugs, you can get to know more about the origin, culture, and thinking of the people who created this remarkable product.

Persian or Oriental Rug?

The first step is to understand the differences between the various antique rugs. Of the major types of rugs, there are similarities and strong differences that will help you tell them apart.

Oriental Rugs: These are rugs created in Asia running from the Middle East through India and finally China. The hand-knotted types are a sign of authenticity.

Persian Rugs: Considered the standard by which all other rugs are measured, Persian rugs are part of the Oriental rug family, but only this type of rug is made in Iran.

So, a Persian rug is an Oriental rug, but an Oriental rug is not necessarily a Persian rug. Once you know the difference, then you can examine the different parts of the rug.

The Parts of the Rug

A typical rug is made up of several parts that are woven together to form a whole. The symbolism can be found in any part of the rug depending on the creator and where they live. The different parts include the following;

  • Field: This is the background of the rug
  • Main Borders: The main border is the outside section which is usually wide.
  • Guard Border: This is the thin section on the inside of the main border.
  • Corner Brackets: These fit the corners of the run inside the guard boarder.
  • Medallion: A prominent feature in the center of the rug.

There is usually a motif to every rug, which is an overall pattern found across the parts of the rug or concentrated in the medallion.

You may need an expert to tell you the age of a rug, which is an important buying consideration. Do not let a little dirt or wear fool you in terms of its age.

Moroccan Rugs

The land of northwest Africa is filled with white sand but is also the home to nomadic tribes that have a strong Islamic influence combined with African heritage. While Moroccan rugs are relatively recent, they are distinctive in their shaggy appearance.

While there is only one main type of Moroccan rug, there are many symbols that can be found inside each design.

  • Bird
  • Barley
  • Crab
  • Spider
  • Eye
  • Dragon
  • Frog
  • Finger and More

Oriental Rugs

You’ll find that this type of rug relies on the colors to demonstrate its uniqueness. For Oriental rugs, the colors have the following meaning;

  • White: Purity
  • Red: Wealth, Beauty, Luck, and Faith
  • Blue: Truth, Solitude, and the Afterlife
  • Brown: Fertility
  • Yellow: Power, Glory, and Joy
  • Orange: Humility, Devotion, and Piety
  • Black: Morning or Destruction

Green represents the Prophet Mohammed and is rarely used. Some of the symbols that you’ll find in Oriental rugs include, but are not limited to the following;

  • Boteh: The seed of life and fertility
  • Dragon: Wisdom, power, and good fortune
  • Mihrab: The Paradise Gateway
  • Camel: Endurance, strength, and blessing
  • Lotus: Rebirth and immortality
  • Lily: Purity and spirituality
  • Ram Horns: Male fertility, bravery, and strength
  • Tree of Life: Symbol of immortality and the afterlife
  • Birds: Symbols of good luck

Of the symbols found in Oriental rugs, many are shared in Persian rugs.

Persian Rugs

Because of the complexity and dedication required to create a Persian rug, they are considered the finest of them all. The wool is unique, offering long, durable fibers that are hand woven. The single looping knot used when woven is a trademark of Persian rugs. There are four types of Persian rugs.

  • Boteh: A common pattern in the shape of a tear drop and pear-shaped figure. Symbolizes the garden
  • Gol: Octagon patterns symbolizing the foot of an elephant.
  • Gul: A motif of flowers
  • Herati: A diamond-shape surrounding a floral head with leaves.

Popular symbols found in Persian rugs include a flying eagle, hunting dog, tree of life, lily, lotus, and paradise bird. All of which carry similar meanings as with Oriental rugs.

Turkish Rugs

Since the 13th century, Turkish rugs have been recognized for their unique pattern, beautiful weaving, and durable nature. The different types of Turkish rugs include the following;

  • Kazak: Made in Armenia, plenty of geometric designs
  • Kilim: Flat-weave goat-hair rugs, nearly waterproof
  • Oushak: Made from wool and silk, uses earth tones
  • Soumak: Stronger than Kilim, bright and vibrant colors

The symbolism on Turkish rugs is varied, including many symbols you find on Oriental and Persian rugs. They include the following;

  • Stars: Stars affect the destiny of people. Seeing a star in a dream is a sign of being happy
  • Pomegranate: Fertility
  • Eye: Wards off evil
  • Fruits: Along with cereals, fruit also symbolizes fertility
  • Trees: Represents regeneration.
  • Ram horn: Health, masculinity, and respect
  • Swastika: In older rugs a swastika which before Nazi Germany was considered a symbol of good luck.

There are many other symbols as well, including some that may not be expected such as the comb which represents cleanliness.

You’ll find many symbols in antique rugs that come from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The symbolism found in Turkish rugs, Oriental rugs, Moroccan rugs, and Persian rugs reflect the culture from which they came. Along with the various animals, creatures, and surroundings that provide a home for the people who make these remarkable rugs.

Sacramental Wine

If you ever participated at a Sunday church service in a Catholic church, for example, you probably noticed that, toward the end of the service, the priest is performing the holy rite of Eucharist. Also known as the Holy Communion, the process of Eucharist assumes taking wine and bread from the priest, after they have been consecrated in the altar, as a symbol of Jesus’ body and blood.

The Eucharist comes from the moment where Jesus shared bread and wine with His disciples during the Last Supper, telling them that this is how they should commemorate Him and celebrate His love for humankind.

So, the Sacramental wine is actually the wine that is served during the rite of Eucharist. For the Catholic Church and other Christian churches, this ritual is extremely important, as it reminds everyone about the sacrifices Jesus Christ did in order to save us all. This particular wine is served after receiving the Sacramental Bread and it can be tested only during the holy ritual of Eucharist.

While at first the Sacramental wine was served directly from a special chalice, both by the clergy and laity, as it happened during the Last Supper, these days the ritual is performed by the priest with the help of a sacramental spoon. So, the habit of using the same chalice for everybody to drink out of it stopped, in order to avoid any accidental spilling of the Holy Blood from the chalice.

Also, it is worth mentioning that some churches will not approve the use of real wine during the Holy Communion, especially if children are involved. So, while red wine is still widely used as a Sacramental Wine during this rite, there are churches that will replace wine with pasteurized grape juice.

Another aspect worth mentioning is that not all churches use red wine, which is closer to the color of blood. Thus, in Western Christianity, in particular, white wine is used for this ritual, as a way to prevent the clergy’s clothes from being stained by accident with red wine. Some churches will add a small amount of water when preparing the chalice with Sacramental wine, while others prefer to keep the wine as it is, without adding water to it.

When it comes to the wine used for the Holy Eucharist, it is worth mentioning that only natural wine is approved. This means that the wine should be produced from natural grape juice that was left to ferment in normal conditions, without adding anything else to its composition. So, preservatives, flavors, or any other substances must not be present in the wine that will be consecrated during this ritual.

Still, a very small amount of spirits obtained also from wine, such as alcohol or brandy, can be added to the composition of the future Sacramental Wine, with the purpose of preserving it better during transportation. But, the rule for this is that the amount of added alcohol or brandy should not exceed 18% of the total quantity of the wine. Thus, not every wine gets the chance to become a sacred wine during the most important religious rite of Christian churches.

What is the Eucharist?

If you are a Christian, you probably heard about Eucharist, although if you didn’t, you probably know it under the name of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, as it is also named. This particular event is considered very important for the entire Christian community and it is seen as a sacrament by the majority of churches.

Even if you are following another religion, it is impossible not to know the moment when Jesus dined together with its disciples for the last time, before has was betrayed and locked away by the Roman soldiers. Known as the Last Supper, the moment is presented by the New Testament and marks the moment when Jesus says goodbye from its disciples and warns them about what is about to come.

It is said that during the Last Supper, Jesus shared bread and wine with His faithful disciples, referring to the served bread as “His body” while the wine represented “the new covenant in my blood”. He knew that Judas was going to betray him, in spite of the fact that he also participated at this Supper, so Jesus decided to warn His disciples and share with them a Christian ritual that was going to last for millennia.

Commanding them to “do this in memory of me”, the association of bread with flesh and wine with blood was the way of Jesus to tell them that He was going to sacrifice Himself for the good of the humankind. Thus, even in our days, Christian churches practice the Eucharist as a way to commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice for us and continue His wish as left to his disciples during this supper.

So, during the sacred ritual of Eucharist, Christians receive from the priest a piece of bread, which can be leavened or unleavened, according to church, and a sip of red wine. Still, there are churches that may prefer using grape juice instead of wine. But, before serving these two to the people inside the Church, the priest will consecrate it inside the altar, as the Holy Bible foresees.

While in some churches everybody that wishes to receive the Eucharist can do so, some require a confession in other to receive the “Holy body and blood” of Jesus, as the bread and wine are seen during this rite. This celebration usually takes place during the Sunday church service, so it can be seen every Sunday of the week and people can be part of it each time. It is part of the church service on a constant basis, as a way for people not to forget the pain and sufferance Jesus went through when He gave up His life for the salvation of humanity.

There are some Christian churches that will recreate the scene of the Last Supper, as a way of recognition for Jesus’ sacrifice and to raise awareness among people about the deep meaning of this moment, which was very important for the entire Christianity as we know it. Practically, the entire Supper was a ritual that was going to predict what will happen, while showing people, through His disciples, the fact that He did everything out of love and compassion.

During the supper, Jesus tells His disciples that they should love each other as He loved each of them and that they were always His friends and not His servants. At one point in His speech, Jesus also tells them that He will be betrayed and sold and that this will be done by one them. Each Apostle denied that he was going to do that to Jesus, yet, He told them that it was true that His betrayer was among those that were present at the supper.

Jesus tells them that He will let everyone know who the betrayer is, as soon as He will take a piece of bread, dip it in His dish, and then hand it to the one that will sell Him. Thus, when this happened, the piece of bread was given to Judas, as the Bible presents.

So, we can say that the Eucharist is one of the most important Christian rites, considering the importance of the previously mentioned events for the history of the Christian religion. After the supper, Jesus was sold by Judas and was captured by the Roman soldiers in the Gethsemani Garden, which was Jesus’ favorite praying place.
Knowing that Jesus went there to pray again, Judas sent the soldiers there, in order to close his part of the deal. After being captured and locked, Jesus went through a trial and ended up being crucified.

It is easy to see why the Last Supper has such a great importance and why the holy rite of the Eucharist means so much for each Christian. It is believed that Jesus is present in the bread and wine served during this ritual. Some believe that these two actually transform into Jesus’ body and blood, during the prayers of the priest.

Others think that Jesus is present in the form of bread and wine, while some believe that He is spiritually present during the ritual. Thus, the Eucharist has a deep meaning for every person that believes in Jesus, God, and acknowledges the happenings presented by the Holy Bible.

Each time a Christian receives the Eucharist, for him or her the moment symbolizes the gesture Jesus did for His disciples, during the Last Supper, as a way to show them His love and appreciation. Thus, for Christians, this is a symbolic way to receive Jesus’ love and to keep in mind everything He did for us, not just through His sacrifice but also during His entire activity.

How is a New Pope chosen?

Thousands of people flock to St. Peter’s square in Rome to celebrate the announcement of the new Pope. The moment white smoke comes out from the chimney stack of the Vatican everyone knows that the new Pope is elected. The smoke signals that the hours of the election are finally over. People elated at the prospect burst into cheers of joy for their new church leader. The nominal person on the street though has no clue that it takes many hours of debate and meetings to decide who will be the new Pope. Here we reveal how a new Pope gets elected. How the Roman Catholic church acquires a new Pontiff.

It is the oldest voting system in the world, and many of its traditions have been unaffected for spans of decades. The Conclave which accurately means “locked with a key”, takes us back to a time when Cardinals were locked in till they chose a new pope. The election will take place amongst locked doors.

The meeting begins with a morning mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. In the afternoon the 150 Cardinals, those under 80 years old enter the Sistine Chapel and take a pledge of secrecy. The automatic penalty of excommunication will come into effect if they break their promise. After receiving the promise of confidentiality, preparations are made for the election by secret ballots. The Cardinals cast their lots. They choose three Cardinals that will collect the votes, three more cardinals to count the votes and three others to assess the results. Printed on the ballots the words “Eligo in Summum Pontificem”, which means,“I elect as Supreme Pontiff”.

Each voter writes the name of one applicant on the lower half of the ballot and folds it in half. Cardinals are not permitted to vote for themselves. Then in order, the superior Cardinals take their ballots to the altar. Each places the folded ballot onto a small disk, and then the ballot is dropped into a cup. Once launching the votes calculated, and the results announced, more than two-thirds of the majority is needed to declare a winner in this case. There must be 77 votes, and if there is no winner, this means that two more votes are still scheduled to take place during the afternoon. Voting lasts up to four ballots each day until there is a victor.


The tickets will burn after each session in an incinerator inside the chapel. If there is no victor, they burn the votes with a chemical that gives off black smoke showing the crowds on ST. Peters square that the choice of Pope still has to take place. If there is no decision, the Cardinals withdraw for a day of prayer. They will only vote for the new Pope deciding between the two names already taken. When the winner is elected, he will be asked: “Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff”? If the answer is yes, then the Pope takes on a new name. He goes into a small room to put on his new Papal clothing. Changing his red clothes for white ones.

When there are a winner white smoke and the ringing of bells, signals to the Cardinals and the excited crowd at St. Peters square, that they have chosen a new Pontiff to lead the church. The new Pope will appear in the balcony to announce a blessing over the people and hopefully a short speech.

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