When mentioning a carpets motif one often talks about which way it is designed, what kind of layout or pattern has been used when manufacturing the carpet. The different parts of the pattern can appear alone or in a group and this contributes to the complete look of the carpet.

All carpets can be divided into the following, all-embracing four layout groups:

Medallion - All-over - Figural - Niche- and tree.

Keshan carpet with medallion motif.


This layout is characterized by a large centrally placed medallion on the carpet. Carpets with medallions are without a doubt the most common in all the carpet manufacturing countries. The medallions can be circular, oval, six- or eight shaped, diamond-shaped or shaped as stars.

Sometimes smaller motifs with flowers occur at the top and at the bottom of the medallion these are known as pendants. These often consists of two parts; the part closest to the medallion is called the katibeh and the other part is known as the kalaleh on Persian.

Beluch carpet with all-over layout.

All-over/repeated motifs

There are no dominating or central motifs in this kind of carpets. The pattern, often geometrical is repeated all over the carpet, usually connected and sometimes not connected. The repeated pattern is often surrounded by a beautiful border.

In a repeated pattern there are no beginnings and no end and the pattern is not interrupted by the carpets external border - some people say that this symbolizes eternity.

Isfahan carpet with a figural motif.

Figural motifs

A major characteristic of this type of layout is that the pattern can only be seen from one direction. It is also important that these carpets are seen from a right angle, otherwise they can not be appreciated and they loose their overall impression. They are best placed so that they cannot be seen upside down, preferably towards a wall or hanging.

Figural motifs often consists of human portraits, animals and places - they can also describe historical events together with picture, text and poems from different poets.

Farahan carpet with a mihrab-pattern.

Niche- and tree motifs

The most common motif in a niche-carpet is the mihrab, which is a prayer niche in a mosque wall and its sharp top is to be directed towards Mecca when praying.

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